Rakesh Sharma, the Punjab-conceived cosmonaut, and pilot, who took India to become the 14th nation to travel outer space. The calm, former Indian Air Force Pilot has flown 21 battle flights amid the Bangladesh War in 1971 and it was in 1982 that he was chosen as a cosmonaut for an Indo-Soviet spaceflight.
Sharma made history on April 3, 1984 as he flew along with Yury Malyshev and Gennady Strekalov on the Soyuz T-11 spending eight days in space and finally landing in Kazakhstan on April 11. He has been a motivation to each space lover in India.
Let's take a look at 10 Interesting and unknown facts about Rakesh Sharma the first Indian to go to space:
1. Born on January 13, 1949, Sharma originally belongs to Punjab and completed his education from Hyderabad.
2. After successfully passing from the National Defence Academy, Sharma was commissioned into the Indian Air Force as a test pilot.
3. As a test pilot, he became an important member of war operations that were conducted against Pakistan.
4. 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.
5. On April 2 in 1984, he made his flight aboard the Soyuz T-11 and became the first Indian to achieve this feat.
6. The duration of his stay in outer space lasted 21 hours and 40 minutes.
7. He conducted scientific and technical studies wherein he was mainly involved in bio-medicine and remote sensing.
8. While in space, the entire crew had a television news conference with Moscow officials and the then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
9. When inquired by Indira Gandhi on how India looked from outer space, Sharma recited Saare Jahan Se Achcha in response.
10. Sharma was awarded the Hero of Soviet Union after his return. He was also felicitated with Ashoka Chakra by the Indian Government.