New Delhi: Joining the project for country's first indigenous manned mission to space, Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed an MoU with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is now planning to set up facilities for selecting the crew for the maiden flight.
Director General of Army Medical Corps (AMC) Lieutenant General H L Kakria while replying to a query on participation of defence forces in country's first space mission said IAF is setting up facilities for the first round of selection process which will begin by 2020.
"IAF has entered into an MoU with the ISRO for long term space research. ISRO has supplied it with lot of equipments and the provisional time for first selection is 2020 and the original thing is likely to take place much later," Kakria told reporters here.
"ISRO has supplied IAF with equipments worth Rs 20 crore and it is in the process of setting up facility for selecting the persons who will participate in the mission," he said.
Maintaining that the mission would be completely indigenous, Kakria said all equipment required for the project would be supplied by ISRO and there is no collaboration with any foreign company or country.
India in 2010 had announced its plans to carry out first manned mission to space and decided to set up a full-fledged training facility for astronauts in Bangalore.
Besides the astronauts and the training facilities, the space vehicle in which the mission would be launched would be developed in the country.
In 1984, Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian citizen to go into space, flying aboard a Soviet mission and country's first unmanned Moon mission, Chandrayaan-I which  was launched in 2009.