The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is expanding its astronaut selection criteria for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission, slated for launch in 2025. In addition to the previously selected fighter pilots from the Air Force, ISRO will now consider women pilots and scientists as potential candidates for this historic mission.The primary objective of the Gaganyaan mission is to demonstrate the safe transport of humans to space and their return to Earth. ISRO Chairman S. Somnath emphasized that while scientific research remains a top priority for ISRO’s missions, they are now widening the pool of potential astronauts for future space missions.This inclusive approach means that alongside Air Force fighter pilots, scientists, including those with expertise in space research, will also be eligible for consideration as astronauts. S. Somnath highlighted the organization’s commitment to giving women the opportunity to participate in space missions. Those who successfully complete the rigorous training will be given the chance to embark on subsequent missions and carry out experiments in space.To pave the way for the Gaganyaan mission, ISRO will conduct the Gaganyaan test mission ‘GX’ in June 2024. This mission will involve launching a robot named ‘Vyomamitra’ into space, where it will spend three days orbiting at an altitude of 400 kilometers above Earth. Following these preliminary tests, the Gaganyaan mission with human astronauts will proceed, following G1 and G2 test launches.