Tests for sending India's first manned mission into space are in "advanced" stages with the Indian Air Force (IAF) developing necessary parameters for selection of suitable candidates.
The tests will need another year to get fully validated and the selection process of the people for the manned mission will begin after that, Director General Medical Services (Air), Air Marshal Anil Behl told PTI here today.
"There is a proper project. It is in the Institute of Aerospace Medicines, Bangalore, where we are doing all kinds of tests on how to put a man in the space," he said on the sidelines of a press conference.
Noting that the tests are already on, Behl said, "We started this project (to validate the tests) almost two years ago. It will take another one year more to be fully validated."
Asked to comment on the stage of the project, he said, "It is in the advanced stage."
"In any project the first stage is conceptualisation, then procurement of infrastructure and training of people. We have gone upto training of people," he said.
"Testing of the people who will be going into space will start after full validation, which has not started yet," he said.
IAF has been entrusted with the task of developing the tests and validating them by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The premier defence agency is also funding the entire program.
Asked when the selection process of the astronauts will begin, Behl said, "We are awaiting the government's signal."
He also said that the government has yet not decided on the number of people who will be selected for the mission.
Behl also noted that people selected for the mission could be from any branch of the armed forces, but a pilot will be preferred because of his familiarity with aviation and other necessary parameters.