Remember Kalpana Chawla, Sunita Williams, Rakesh Sharma? Well, the next Indian origin astronaut to make us proud is Raja Chari. He will not only be a part of NASA’s Artemis Mission but will also lead the next SpaceX Crew mission to ISS.
Crux of the Matter
Let us get acquainted with Raja Chari, the Indian-American, who is selected for NASA and SpaceX Missions.
Time To Go To NASA
After being selected for NASA Astronaut Group 22 in 2017, Raja Chari was chosen to be a part of the Artemis team and the commander for SpaceX’s next crew mission in December 2020.
What Is The Artemis Program?
Funded by the US, it is an international human spaceflight program that has the main goal of landing “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, at the lunar south pole region by 2024.
“A Cosmic Kiss”
It is the title given to the European segment of the SpaceX-3 Commercial crew program, that Chari is the first to be selected from the Astronaut 22 group.
Other Three Indians In Space
In 1984, he became the first Indian citizen to travel into space as he flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz T-11 rocket to the space station Salyut 7, as a part of the ISRO and the Soviet Intercosmos space programme.
- Rakesh had famously said, “Saare Jahaan Se Achcha” on seeing India from outer space.
- Awards: ‘Hero of Soviet Union’ and the Ashok Chakra.
She was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space, who first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, she was one of the 7 crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. She was posthumously called the National Hero of India, awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets and institutions were named in her honor.
She holds the record of longest spaceflight of 195 days for a female space traveller and the most spacewalking time by a woman i.e 50 hours and 40 minutes over 7 career excursions. This NASA astronaut had also participated in the Boston Marathon while in space.
- Air Commodore (Retd) Ravish Malhotra was the backup to Rakesh Sharma in the 1984 Mission. He is a recipient of the Kirti Chakra and fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
- A biographical Hindi-language film titled, Saare Jahaan Se Achcha (formerly “Salute”), is under pre-production since 2018.
- “Sare Jahan Se Accha” is an Urdu language patriotic song for children written by poet Muhammad Iqbal in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry. Publicly recited by Iqbal in 1905 at Government College, Lahore, British India, it quickly became an anthem of opposition to the British Raj.