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Indian astronaut to be on board Russian spacecraft

Last updated on: March 26, 2008 15:32 IST

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 told RIA Novosti news agency.

He said that the ISRO had been holding talks on the issue with the Russian Federal Space Agency and has 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 -- a three-stage rocket with solid, liquid and cryo stages. The GSLV can place 2,200 kg into the 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.

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