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Indian scientists to redesign Soyuz for its manned space mission

File photo of a Soyuz in the launch zone at Baikonur. Arianespace photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): After the historic moon mission, India will redesign Russian space capsule Soyuz to send its astronauts on the country's maiden manned space mission.

"We will be redesigning the Soyuz space capsule of the Russian agency for our mission," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair said.

ISRO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russian space agency Roskosmos on Joint Activities in the Field of Human Spaceflight Programme during the recent visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here.

Under the MoU signed by Nair and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Perminov, space scientists from both the countries will jointly build the spacecraft for India's manned mission.

The Soyuz, which has been in use since 1967, has been upgraded several times and has recently brought back American astronauts from the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TM is a modernised version of the Soyuz T with a new docking and rendezvous, radio communications, emergency and integrated parachute/landing engine systems. It has a more durable metal body and lighter heat shield material. It serves as both a ferry for Russian crews coming to and from the space station as well as a 'lifeboat' for any emergency escapes.

The Indian Government has already sanctioned Rs 95 crore to study all aspects of the manned space mission under which ISRO plans to send a two-member crew on a week-long sojourn in space.

ISRO plans to undertake the manned space mission in 2015 in which the spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit. It will splash in to the Indian Ocean after completion of the mission. The space agency is also setting up an astronaut training centre in Bangalore. For the two-member mission, a batch of 200 would be initially selected and trained before opting for four persons out of which two would go on the mission.

Upbeat over the success of Chandrayaan-1, the country's maiden mission to moon, India and Russia are already working on a sequel which entails landing a rover on moon. The two countries have already launched technical discussions for Chandrayaan-2 project which was signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow last year.

Last year, ISRO had sent to space a capsule which was recovered after keeping in orbit for 22 days. The Space Recovery Experiment (SRE) was seen as a technology demonstrator for future manned missions.

Russia and India are also expected to collaborate on launch vehicles for future space missions. The two sides will also set up the India-Russia Centre for Technology Transfer.

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