LEARNING FROM THE BEST: Russia to help India train astronauts on first space mission

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MOSCOW – Russia has announced that it will help India prepare members of its first space mission aboard the nationally manufactured Gaganyaan spacecraft scheduled for late 2021, Russian company Glavkosmos said.

“Glavkosmos and the India Space Research Agency (ISRO) have signed an agreement to assist in the selection, medical examination and space training of Indian astronauts,” the company said in a statement.

Further details of the deal were not disclosed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in August last year that in 2022, when 75 years of India’s independence will be fulfilled, “a son or daughter from India will go into space with a flag in hand.”

After the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in October Modi said he hopes Russia will help his country in this task.

India has been developing its own space program since 1947, immediately after the country’s independence.

Elsewhere with India, India’s Foreign Ministry underlined that New Delhi does not intend to abandon its agreement with Moscow to buy S-400 air defense systems despite US threats earier last month.

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India is likely to pay Russia in euros for its weapons in order to avoid US sanctions, the Indian daily Economic Times reported , citing anonymous sources.

The sources claimed that while some payments have already been made “through transactions in rupees and rubles”, Moscow and New Delhi have signed an agreement according to which Russian bank VTB will receive payment in euros.

Meanwhile, the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft’s return capsule landed 145 kilometers from the city of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 2:48GMT last Tuesday.

Participants on Expedition 59, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and NASA astronaut Anne McClain landed near the city of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Soyuz MS-11 is the current mission of a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. The spacecraft is capable of carrying three astronauts and its launch took place on December 3, 2018.

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