The first leg would be a two-week flight training during which they will work with the Indian Air Force (IAF). Following this, they would begin their academic or theory courses. Fitness and other related activities will be a continuous process through their training.
Isro chairman K Sivan told TOI: “We’ve had two meetings of the council and protocols for training under the present circumstances have been decided upon. This will be a standing committee that will continuously monitor the training to ensure that the astronauts are medically fit.”
The committee headed by the principal scientific adviser (PSA) to the prime minister, K Vijay Raghavan, also has members from all three services of the armed forces, and the directors of Nimhans (Bengaluru) and JIPMER (Puducherry).
“…Among other things, the council has laid down guidelines for physical distancing, need for a glass separator between astronauts during academic training, creation of bio-bubbles while they are training on specific modules, etc,” Sivan, who is also the vice-chairman of the said council, said.
He added that when the four men leave Bengaluru and go to other locations for training, the test positivity rate (TPR) of the said location needs to be under 0.9%.
As reported by TOI earlier, the four IAF test pilots had completed their training in Russia and returned to Bengaluru earlier this year. While they had familiarised themselves with basic astronaut training in Russia, they are scheduled to begin their mission-specific training in India.
The India training will happen in multiple cities and with the help of multiple agencies, including all three services of the armed forces.
For instance, the Gaganyaan module-specific training — different conditions and reactions they need — will all happen in Bengaluru, while buoyancy and water survival tests and training will happen at NIOT (National Institute of Ocean Technology) in Chennai. The flight and other training will be provided by the IAF while Isro has also roped in the navy.
Some of the centrifuge tests will happen at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) while physical and some simulator training will happen at the Isro Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment (ISITE), both in Bengaluru.
The advanced training will involve familiarisation of systems, including launch vehicles. This will mostly be theory that will help astronaut-elects understand various systems that will launch them into space and bring them back safely.
After this, they will start flight simulation where they’ll be taught how to use safety instruments, intervene manually to operate flight systems in case something goes wrong, how to take photographs of Earth and so on.
Further, Isro will be building or procuring new simulators that will provide advanced training to the astronaut-elects in Bengaluru.
The crew and service simulators will be developed by Isro with the help of industries, which will allow astronauts to train on using onboard survival kits, operation of various systems such as orbital monitoring, Sivan said, adding that apart from all this, astronauts will have a regular schedule of aircraft flying to keep them active.