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Russia to begin Gaganyaan space astronauts training by 2020 January:

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh announced that the training for Gaganyaan space astronauts will start their training from the third week of January 2020. 

Space Astronauts training:

♦ The training of the Indian astronauts for India`s first human space mission will take place in Russia. 

♦ India has selected four astronauts for the human space mission.

♦ The astronauts shortlisted for the mission will receive training for 11 months. All four astronauts selected for the mission are male candidates. Their identity was not revealed. 

♦ The astronauts will receive module-specific training in India. 

♦ They will be trained in crew and service modules designed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), learn to operate it, work around it and do simulations.  

♦ Bahubali GSLV Mark-III, India`s heaviest launch vehicle, will is expected to carry astronauts to space.

♦ The Union Cabinet approved Rs.10,000 crores for the Gaganyaan project. 

♦ Gaganyaan will be the first to ever human space mission conceived and developed in India.

Note: The first Indian to go into space was Rakesh Sharma in 1984 but the spacecraft in which he went was not Indian spacecraft.

France is to train Indian flight surgeons for Gaganyaan mission:

France is to train Indian flight surgeons to enable them to monitor the health of astronauts selected for the human space mission Gaganyaan. The announcement was released on 21 January 2020. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding this is expected to be signed during French space agency CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall`s visit to India in January.

Flight surgeon training:

♦ The training will be given for two-week. It is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022.

♦ The flight surgeons are the Indian Air Force (IAF) doctors specializing in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after the flight

♦ The surgeons will be shortlisted soon.

♦ Those selected surgeons will undergo two weeks of training in France.

India-France relationship:

India and France share strengthened ties in the area of space. The two countries had signed a joint vision for space cooperation in March 2018. The agreement came even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan project.

India successfully test-fires K-4 ballistic missile:

India has successfully test-fired a 3,500 kilometre range nuclear capable missile that can be launched from a submarine.The test of the K-4 ballistic missile was conducted off the Vizag coast in Andhra Pradesh on 19 January, 2020.With this test, India has moved one more step towards the induction of this ballistic missile on the INS Arihant class of nuclear submarines.The missile was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The three-metre-tall missile carries a nuclear warhead of over one tonne with a circular error probability far lower than that of Chinese ballistic missiles.Only the US, Russia and China have submarine-launched ballistic missiles of 3,500-kilometre range.The submarine-launched ballistic missile is the most important part of the air, land and sea nuclear triad and is at the front of India’s second-strike capability.

ISRO launched GSAT-30 on 17 January from French Guiana: 
 
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched India`s communication satellite GSAT-30 onboard the Ariane-5 launch vehicle (VA 251) into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on 17 January 2020 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana.
 
GSAT-30:
 
♦ GSAT-30 weighs around 3,357kg
♦ The communication satellite aims to serve as a replacement to INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage
♦ The satellite is expected to provide coverage in Ku-band that covers Indian mainland and islands
♦ It has extended coverage in C-band that covers Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.
♦ The life span of the GSAT is 15 years
♦ The communication payload of GSAT-30 is specifically designed and optimized to maximize the number of transponders on the spacecraft bus. 
♦ The satellite will be extensively used for supporting VSAT network, DTH television services, television uplinking and teleport services, cellular backhaul connectivity, digital satellite newsgathering (DSNG), and many other applications. 
♦ One Ku-band beacon downlink signal is transmitted for ground-tracking purposes.
 
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