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As of 2024, one Indian national and four people of Indian origin have been in space. The first and only astronaut of Indian national, in space was Rakesh Sharma on Soyuz T-11 in 1984. Three astronauts – Kalpana Chawla,Sunita Williams and Raja Chari- flew as NASA astronauts.

Sirisha Bandla is the first and only Indian-born woman to make a suborbital flight, which she did on Virgin Galactic Unity 22 on July 11, 2021.
Chawla and Williams are tied for the record of the number of spaceflights by an astronaut of Indian origin at two each. Sunita Williams and Raja Chari are the only astronauts to have made long-term spaceflights.

Rakesh Sharma
Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, AC (born 13 January 1949) is a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew aboard Soyuz T-11 on 3 April 1984 as part of the Soviet Interkosmos programme. He is the only Indian citizen to travel in space, although there have been other astronauts of Indian origin who travelled to space, who were not Indian citizens.

Another Air Force pilot, Ravish Malhotra, was placed on standby.
Sharma was born on 13 January 1949 in Patiala of present-day Punjab, India into a Punjabi Hindu Brahmin family. He attended St. George’s Grammar School, Hyderabad and graduated from Nizam College, Hyderabad. He joined the National Defence Academy as an air force plebe in July 1966 and was commissioned into the Indian Air Force as a pilot in 1970.
An alumnus of the 35th National Defence Academy, Sharma joined the Indian Air Force as a test pilot in 1970 and progressed through numerous levels where in 1984 he was promoted to the rank of squadron leader.

Space Connection

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