Making India proud: Raja Chari selected for NASA’s moon mission  

Indian-American US Air Force Colonel Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari made history when he was named among 18 astronauts who have been selected by NASA for its ambitious manned mission to the moon

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NH Web Desk

Indian-American US Air Force Colonel Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari made history when he was named among 18 astronauts who have been selected by NASA for its ambitious manned mission to the moon and beyond. NASA on December 9 named the 18 astronauts -- half of them women -- who will train for its Artemis moon-landing programme


43-year-old Raja Chari, a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and US Naval Test Pilot School, is the sole Indian-origin member of NASA’s diverse Artemis Team, which is set to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.

NASA took to their official Twitter handle to introduce Raja. They wrote: “Pilot with 2,000 hours of flight time. Meet @Astro_Raja, an initial member of our @NASAArtemis team who will help pave the way for the next human missions on and around the Moon.”

Raja also took to his Twitter handle to share this news. He shared a video from NASA and wrote: “Proud to be a small part of the huge NASA team working to get humans to the moon to stay. We need explorers, engineers, and dreamers to get #Artemis there.”


With this, Chari will become the fourth person of Indian origin to go to outer space. The first Indian to enter space was Rakesh Sharma, when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 in 1984.

The other two were women—Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. Williams is now part of NASA-Boeing's commercial crew program and is expected to fly the first Starliner mission flight next summer. Chawla died, along with the six other crew members, in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas on its re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.

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