PUNE: Four astronauts from the Indian Air Force underwent a rigorous selection procedure conducted by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) before leaving for Russia on Friday to sustain the training ahead of the country’s maiden manned space flight mission. ISRO chairman K Sivan, who was awarded the prestigious Vijnan Ratna Award in the city on Friday, said during his speech.

Sivan stated, “ISRO is making efforts to launch the maiden human space flight venture Gaganyaan by the end of this year. The four astronauts have been selected from a pool of Indian Air Force pilots and have been sent for training.”

The space scientist said that ISRO had aimed for a short-term plan for two unmanned missions, one in December and another in June 2021. An astronaut training facility has been developed near Bangalore for the program.

Sivan also said that the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will soon be manufactured by the industry. Sivan said, “ISRO had already worked out a model for outsourcing the manufacturing of PSLV to the industry so that it could focus on the proposed human space programme.”