BENGALURU: As Indian space scientists race to fly Indians to space in four years time, two DRDO labs- DEBEL (Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory), Bengaluru, and DFRL (Defence Food Research Laboratory), Mysuru, plan to chip in with space suits and foodstuff for the crew.
For long, both these laboratories have been supporting the armed forces with food packages from DFRL, even providing a selection of fare to Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (Retd) during his space journey onboard the Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft in 1984.
Experts from the laboratories met the top brass at ISRO and presented details of their capability to support the human space flight programme. "We have said we have the technology to make space suits and food for space missions and will make them once specifications are given to us," Dr Upendra Kumar Singh, head of both the labs, told Deccan Chronicle. He said DEBEL has the know-how to design and produce space suits given its long track record of supplying life protecting and life saving systems for all three wings of the armed forces.
Pilots of IAF have been using G-suits, oxygen masks, helmets, cold weather suits, while those serving the army have been provided NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protective gear. Likewise, the navy has been supplied with submarine escape system, he added. Dr Singh said DFRL has the expertise in developing food for the armed forces serving in extreme weather conditions and in the process of rolling out in-flight eatables for long endurance fighter. "Food should provide balanced nutrition for the health of those who will be chosen to work in space while being easy and safe to store and consumer under low gravity conditions. The packaging material used for space foods must be able to withstand extreme gravity conditions and easily dispensable. So we will be able to play the role of a competent partner in the human space programme," he added.