The news in is that the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will work together on India’s first manned space mission.

A MoU between ISRO and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ was made at end of delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and comprised joint activities in the field of Human Spaceflight Programme.

Russia has offered a ride for a short visit to International Space Station (ISS) onboard a Soyuz spacecraft to Indian astronaut for a short training mission in 2022. This offer was made when external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Russia last month.

Moreover, India has hopes of sending its first manned mission ‘Gaganyaan’ in 2022.

“Historically, India-Russia space cooperation was very strong, with the Soviet Union being one of the three partners who helped India get off the ground with its space programme. While this continued for several decades included for sending an Indian cosmonaut in a Soviet Soyuz mission in 1982, this relationship has begun to slow down in the last decade… The China factor has been a determining factor to the extent where India’s Chandrayaan 2 mission has been delayed significantly. Russia had agreed to supply ISRO with the Rover for the second moon mission but this has not come through and now ISRO is building its own Rover.” – Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation told the Financial Express that.

Rajagopalan also added that “After India announced its manned space mission, there have been interesting debates about where India should train its astronauts. The options are of course the US and Russia and both have offered India all assistance in this regard. How India decides on this issue will be interesting. If India will take clues from the Chandrayaan 2 mission, it will be more prudent.”

“Russian space training is of utmost importance for India’s manned mission to the moon.” – Anil Wadhwa, former secretary in MEA

Measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS were decided to be set up in both countries.

India and Russia are a part of BRICS, for which both the countries agreed on cooperation regarding BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation and the continuation of working together in various space-related programmes.

If successful, India would be the fourth nation to send a human in space after the US, Russia, and China.