A total of four Indian astronauts will go to Russia by November 2019. Russia will train Indian astronauts to go on-board Gaganyaan – India’s first manned mission to space

According to the report, a total of four Indian astronauts will go to Russia by November 2019. They will undergo training for a period of 15 months at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. After this, they will get trained in India for six to eight months, it said.

A contract has already been signed between GLAVKOSMOS, a subsidiary of Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS and manages the international space project, and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for training the Indian astronauts.

A special ISRO unit will also be established in the Indian mission in Moscow, the report added.

It is said that the country is taking the help of Russia in Gaganyaan mission as it sees the latter as a reliable long-term partner with great experience in human space flight over the last 50 years.

Indo-Russian space collaboration dates back to four decades, as per news agency PTI. In 2015, the two sides marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of India's first satellite 'Aryabhatt' on a Russian (then USSR) launch vehicle 'Soyuz'.

In May 2015, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the countries, in which ISRO and the ROSCOSMOS had agreed to work on joint activities in areas of mutual interest, including satellite navigation, launch vehicle development, critical technologies for human spaceflight program.

Russia is one of the three countries - the other two being France and the United States - that share robust cooperation in all three strategic sectors of defence, nuclear and space with India.

In a release, ROSCOSMOS said, "The sides discussed possible Indian crewed flight carrier rocket aerodynamic tests, as well as piloted vehicle and crew rescue system. It is planned to reach an agreement until the end of August 2019. Russia and India are expecting to negotiate the contracts to supply windows, crew seats and spacesuits for the Indian crewed mission."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech this year, talked about the ambitious Gaganyaan mission to send an Indian astronaut to space by 2022.

Reacting to the prime minister's call, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said technologies that would help in sending an Indian astronaut to space - like the human crew module and the environment control and life support system - have already been developed.

If successful, India would be the fourth nation to achieve the feat after the US, Russia and China.