India seeks Russia's help to train its astronaut

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Moscow, Mar 26 India is planning to send one of its citizens into space on board a Russian spacecraft to acquire the skills necessary for future manned space missions. ''India would like to have one of its astronauts trained in Russia and send him into space on board the Soyuz spacecraft,'' an anonymous senior source in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told RIA Novosti news agency.

He said ISRO had been holding talks on the issue with the Russian Federal Space Agency and ''received a positive response.'' India has been successfully developing its space programme in recent years, regularly launching satellites using its own booster rockets. The country is planning to launch its first space shuttle in 2014. The vehicle would be launched by India's successful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mk II) - a three-stage rocket with solid, liquid and cryo stages. The GSLV can place 2,200 kg into geostationary transfer orbit.

India sent its first astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, into space with the Soviet Intercosmos programme aboard the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft on April 2, 1984.

UNI

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