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From Earth to Space: India’s Vision for Women in Orbit

In a significant move towards gender equality in space exploration, S Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), recently expressed his profound wish to see more women involved in the country’s space missions. He revealed this vision in the Pournami Kavu temple at an important occasion on Vijayadasami.. Chairman Somanath’s desire reflects the sentiments of the nation, including those of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

A report from the Press Trust of India confirms that during the event, Somanath spoke of his expectation to witness more female astronauts participating in ISRO’s ambitious Gaganyaan mission. This groundbreaking mission aims to send Indian astronauts into space and safely return them to Earth.

Somanath clarified that due to the extensive preparations and astronaut selection already in progress, it would not be possible to include women in Gaganyaan’s inaugural mission. However, he emphasised his optimism for greater female involvement in future Gaganyaan missions.

“More women astronauts in space missions are part of my wish list, and I only echoed the voice of the nation, including that of the Prime Minister,” he told PTI.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Astronaut in India:

As the dream of putting more women into space missions takes centre stage at ISRO, the prospect of becoming an astronaut in India has never looked more promising. If you’ve ever dreamed of reaching for the stars, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you turn that dream into reality:

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Obtain the Right Educational Qualifications:

To become an astronaut, you’ll need to start with a strong educational foundation. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as engineering, physics, or life sciences. This will be the first crucial step on your journey to the stars. Mostly a master’s degree or a doctorate in aeronautical or aerospace engineering would be preferred.

Gain Professional Experience:

Once you’ve completed your education, work in your chosen field for a few years. Practical experience is invaluable and will prepare you for the demanding challenges of space travel.

Apply to ISRO:

You then need to take the competitive exam organised by ISRO to actually get in. The exam is called ICRB (ISRO Centralised Recruitment Board Exam) and you need to have a bachelor’s degree mentioned in the above fields to be eligible.

Clear the Selection Process:

After the exams comes the selection process. The selection process includes rigorous physical and mental evaluations. These assessments are designed to identify individuals who can excel in the challenging environment of space. Make sure to prepare physically and mentally for this stage.

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Astronaut Training:

If you’re selected, you’ll undergo extensive astronaut training, including simulations, spacewalk training, and physical conditioning. This training typically lasts for several years.

Join a Space Mission:

Once you’ve completed your training and passed all the necessary evaluations, you’ll be ready to join a space mission. Your role could vary, from mission specialist to pilot, depending on your training and qualifications.

What’s the Pay Like?

The pay for an Indian astronaut can vary depending on several factors, including experience, position, and the specific mission. On average, an astronaut in India can earn a salary ranging from ₹20-30 lakhs per annum. However, the prestige and experience of being an astronaut go far beyond monetary compensation.

Inspiring Indian Women Astronauts:

While India looks forward to embracing more women astronauts, it’s worth mentioning the inspiring women who have already paved the way for future generations:

Kalpana Chawla: A name etched in history, Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin to travel in space. Her remarkable journey on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 continues to inspire women across the nation.

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Sunita Williams: With two spaceflights and numerous records to her name, Sunita Williams is a true icon. She exemplifies the spirit of exploration and serves as a role model for aspiring female astronauts.

Ritu Karidhal: Often referred to as the “Rocket Woman of India,” Ritu Karidhal played a pivotal role in ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission. Her contributions to the field of space technology continue to inspire the nation.

Feeling inspired to prove that the sky is indeed not the limit with ISRO? Visit the official ISRO website ( to check and submit applications for the currently available positions. If you don’t see any openings for the positions you want to try out for, don’t be disheartened! Keep an eye on their website to make sure you enrol for the exams when it is!

Source: PIT, India Today, Forbes

By: Ashbiha Fathima reporting from Chennai for True to Life

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