Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian Astronaut to travel in the space. He has reached outer space in Russia’s Soyuz rocket. He was born on January 13, 1949, in Punjab.
This young space whiz attended St. Ann’s High School, Secundrabad and moved to St. Georges Grammar School, Hyderabad and showed interest in flying fighter planes.
He was graduated from Nizam College. In 1966, he joined the Air Force as a cadet, at that time he just turned 18. Honing his skills at the National Defense Academy as an Air Force plebe since July 1966, he was quite a dedicated student.
In 1970, to become a pilot he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force. During the period of the mid-‘80s, Rakesh Sharma has been proved to be a pioneer in the field of piloting.
He was the first Indian to drift into space and bring a new approach into the country. It was almost 26 years ago that since Rakesh undertook that historical journey to space, although it is still remembered among the people.
Owing to his struggle and dedication, he became a member of the most remarkable space program that involved only the best military cadets. Rakesh Sharma was chosen for this mission and ever since he has been an inspiration to upcoming cosmonauts.
The Intercosmos Research Team was a program that was organized by the Soviet Union and included active participation from integrated countries such as India, France, and Syria.
Rakesh Sharma was born on 13 January 1949, in the well-known district of Patiala located in the state of Punjab. As a young boy, he joined at St. George’s Grammar School in Hyderabad and received his early education from there.
In 1966, he was enrolled to the National Defense Academy as an Air Force plebe. Rakesh certified to be a focused and dedicated student. By 1970, he was commissioned into the Indian Air Force to become a pilot.
In 1970, after joining the Indian Air Force as a test pilot, his intense for flying opened up various opportunities such as being a part of war operations against Pakistan.
He flew various Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft starting from 1971. Rakesh rapidly progressed through many levels. In 1984, he was appointed as the Squadron Leader and pilot of the Indian Air Force.
After some years, he was asked to go on an extraordinary mission as a combined space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos.
He has spent 8 days journeying around our Earth’s orbit in the space station called Salyut 7. The flight Soyuz T-11 also carried two other astronauts from the Soviet Union.
Rakesh had made history by being the first Indian to travel in space on 3rd April 1984 when the space flight took off. His responsibilities included capturing multi-spectral images of the Northern part of India with a view to constructing a hydroelectric power station close to the Himalayas.
In an interview with the press, he described this experience as the best feeling ever. Rakesh also said that the space venture involved rigorous training (zero gravity exercises) for him and Rakesh Malhotra, his colleague.
After a few years, to become a part of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as a test pilot, he got retired from the Indian Army as a Wing Commander. He was posted in the division of Nashik.
He then shifted to National Flight Test Center (NFTC) in Bangalore and began to work on the Light Combat Aircraft program, along with a few others.
In 2006, Rakesh Sharma took part in a conference involving an assembling of the best scientists of ISRO, who was responsible for one of India’s space missions. Currently, he has retired from his IAF services and is now the chairperson for the Automated Workflow.
Awards and Accolades
Apart from being the first Indian to be on space, he has been awarded by the Government for his attentiveness on successfully completing the given mission.
He has received the two accolades “The Hero of the Soviet Union” and the “Ashoka Chakra Award” was given to honor his venturous deeds.
1949: Rakesh Sharma was born in Patalia into a Punjabi family.
1966: He joined the National Defense Academy as an Air Force trainee.
1970: Appointed as a test pilot by Indian Air Force.
1971: Rakesh Sharma flew the Mikoyan-Gurevich, a Russian jet.
1984: He was a part of a space mission owing to which he became the first man to travel to space.
2006: He took part in a space conference held by ISRO.
Some Lesser Known Facts about Rakesh Sharma
Does Rakesh Sharma smoke? Not known
Does Rakesh Sharma drink alcohol? Not known
His ancestors hail from West Punjab, Mumbai, present-day Pakistan.
As a test pilot, he became an important member of war operations that were conducted against Pakistan.
On September 20, 1982, he was elected to travel into space as a cosmonaut as part of a joint programme by ISRO and the Soviet Intercosmos space programme
After successfully passing from the National Defence Academy, Sharma was commissioned into the Indian Air Force as a test pilot
On April 2 in 1984 he made his flight aboard the Soyuz T-11 and became the first Indian to achieve this feat
The duration of his stay in outer space lasted 21 hours and 40 minutes. He conducted scientific and technical studies wherein he was mainly involved in bio-medicine and remote sensing
Sharma was awarded the Hero of Soviet Union after his return. He was also felicitated with Ashoka Chakra by the Indian Government
Shah Rukh Khan will soon begin with the shooting of his next film ‘Salute’, which is a biopic on Indian Air Force pilot Rakesh Sharma. ‘Salute’ will revolve around the life of a man called Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel into space.
The biopic will be directed by Mahesh Mathai and reports have it that Kareena Kapoor Khan might star opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the film.
When inquired by Indira Gandhi on how India looked from outer space, Sharma recited Saare Jahan Se Achcha in response
Rakesh Sharma Biography
|Profession||Former Indian Air Force Pilot, Cosmonaut|
|Famous for||Being the first Indian citizen to travel in space|
|Date of birth||13 January, India|
|Birthplace||Patiala, Punjab, India|
|Age (as in 2019)||70 Years|
|Address||He lives in Coonoor (a small town) in Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu|
|Hobbies||Gardening, Traveling, Reading, Playing Golf & Doing Yoga|
|Branch/Service||Indian Air Force|
|Awards & Honours||Ashok Chakra|
Sainya Seva Medal
Videsh Seva Service Medal
25th Anniversary of Independence Medal
9 Years Long Service Medal
Hero of the Soviet Union
|Joined as||a Cosmonaut|
|Time Spent in Space||7 days 21 hours and 40 minutes|
|Height||In centimeters- 168cm |
In meters- 5’6″
|Weight||In kilograms- 75kg |
In pounds- 165lbs
|Eye Color||Light Brown|
|School||St. Ann’s High School, Secundrabad |
St. Georges Grammar School, Hyderabad
|College/University||Nizam College, Hyderabad |
National Defence Academy in Khadakvasla, Pune
|Spouse/Wife||Madhu (Interior Designer)|
|Spouse/Wife||Madhu (Interior Designer)|
|Children||Son- Kapil Sharma (Film Director) |
Daughter- Mansi (died at the age of six), Krittika Sharma( a Senior Design Associate & Behaviour Architect)
|Favorite Cosmonaut||Yuri Gagrin|
|FavoriteDestination||Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu|
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