128th but the first Indian in space

Rakesh Sharma, the man who spread inspiration and patriotism in the minds of million Indians, born today in 1949, in Patiala, Punjab, India.
At the age of 18, he became a cadet in Indian Air Force in 1966 and then admitted in National Defence Academy, in the same year.

Rakesh Sharma

In 1970, he was commissioned as a test pilot in Indian Air Force. In 1982, he was selected in a joint space program between Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos Space Program to become cosmonaut.

In 1984, the then squadron leader Rakesh Sharma, took off to space from Baikonour Cosmodrome in the Soviet Rocket Soyuz T-11, along with commander, Yury Malyshev, and flight engineer, Gennadi Strekalov.

He spent 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes, on board, Salyut 7, the space station.

In a joint television news conference, the crew interacted with Moscow officials and the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.
Rakesh Sharma replied “Saare jahan se achcha “, when the Prime Minister asked him, how  India looked from the outer space.

He conducted several Earth observation program on board concentrating India, including photographing India from space, he conducted several life science and material based experiments on space. He also experimented with practicing yoga to check the effects of prolonged spaceflight.

He was awarded with the title Hero of the Soviet Union, India presented him the highest peacetime gallantry award the Ashoka Chakra.

If you end up doing what you are passionate about, the journey is so easy

Rakesh Sharma, in a recent interview with The Hindu
Article by M R Raghul

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