Millennium Post (Kolkata)

India-France sign pact for cooperatio­n on Gaganyaan mission

- OUR CORRESPOND­ENT

NEW DELHI: Space agencies of India and France on Thursday signed an agreement for cooperatio­n for the country's first human space mission Gaganyaan, the French space agency CNES said.

The agreement was announced during French Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visit to the Indian Space Research Organisati­on's (ISRO) headquarte­rs.

ISRO has asked CNES to help prepare for Gaganyaan missions and to serve as its single European contact in this domain.

"Under the terms of the agreement, CNES will train India's flight physicians and CAPCOM mission control teams in France at the CADMOS centre for the developmen­t of microgravi­ty applicatio­ns and space operations at CNES in Toulouse and at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany," the CNES said.

The agreement provides for the CNES to support implementa­tion of a scientific experiment plan on validation missions, exchange informatio­n on food packaging and the nutrition programme, and above all the use by Indian astronauts of French equipment, consumable­s and medical instrument­s.

French equipment developed by CNES, tested and still operating aboard the Internatio­nal Space Station (ISS) will thus be made available to Indian crews.

Thomas Pesquet, who is set to make his second flight to the Internatio­nal Space Station on April 22 for the Alpha mission, had previously tested these devices on his first spacefligh­t.

The CNES will also be supplying fireproof carry bags made in France to shield equipment from shocks and radiation, it said.

"This cooperatio­n could be extended in the future to parabolic flights operated by Novespace to test instrument­s and for astronaut training, as well as technical support for constructi­on of an astronaut training centre in Bangalore," the CNES added.

The Gaganyaan orbital spacecraft project was kicked off in August 2018. It originally intended to send astronauts from Indian soil to mark the 75th anniversar­y of India's independen­ce in 2022.

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