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India seeks Russia's help in space pilot training

NEW DELHI, March 25 (RIA Novosti) - India is considering sending one of its citizens into space on board a Russian spacecraft to acquire the skills necessary for future manned space missions, an Indian space source told RIA Novosti.

"India would like to have one of its astronauts trained in Russia and send him into space on board the Soyuz spacecraft," said a senior researcher from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

He said ISRO had been in talks on the issue with the Russian Federal Space Agency and "received a positive response."

India has been successfully developing its space program in recent years, regularly launching satellites using its own booster rockets.

India is planning to launch its first space shuttle in 2014.

The vehicle would be launched by India's successful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mk II) - a three-stage rocket with solid, liquid and cryo stages. The GSLV can place 2,200 kg into geostationary transfer orbit.

India sent its first astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, into space with the Soviet Intercosmos program aboard the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft on April 2, 1984.

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