Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) have agreed to work together for first manned space mission Gaganyaan. In this regard, both space agencies have signed MoU at end of delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi.
Under MoU on Joint Activities in the field of Human Spaceflight Programme, ROSCOSMOS has offered the ride to Indian astronaut short visit to International Space Station (ISS) onboard Soyuz spacecraft for short training mission in 2022. ISS is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. Russia had first made the offer to train an Indian astronaut for the mission when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Russia in September 2018.
Historically, India-Russia space cooperation was very strong, with the Soviet Union being one of the three partners who helped India get off the ground with its space programme. This has continued for several decades included for sending an Indian cosmonaut in a Soviet Soyuz mission in 1982. Former Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Rakesh Sharma was first Indian to travel to space. He was part of Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11 expedition, launched on April 2, 1984 of Intercosmos programme.