This Day: Rakesh Sharma becomes First Indian in Space

This Day: Rakesh Sharma becomes First Indian in Space

It was 33 years ago, on April 2, 1984, a year after India secured its first Cricket World Cup, that Sqdn Leader Rakesh Sharma (now 67 and Retd. Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma) became the first Indian to go to space.

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This Day: Rakesh Sharma becomes First Indian in Space

It was 33 years ago, on April 2, 1984, a year after India secured its first Cricket World Cup, that Sqdn Leader Rakesh Sharma (now 67 and Retd. Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma) became the first Indian to go to space.

On being asked by Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi, on how India looked, Rakesh Sharma said, “Saare Jahaan se Accha…” eternalizing the Taranah-e-Hindi that was penned by poet, Muhammad Iqbal in 1904.

An alumnus of the 35th National Defence Academy, Rakesh Sharma joined as a test pilot in the Indian Air Force in 1970.  A focused and dedicated student and pilot, Rakesh was chosen to be a cosmonaut on 20 September 1982 and became a part of the joint Indo-Soviet space mission between ISRO and the erstwhile Soviet Unions Intercosmos Space program.

In 1987 he became the first Indian citizen to go into space, when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic on the second of April 1984.

This Day: Rakesh Sharma becomes First Indian in Space

Soyuz T-11 docked and transferred the 3 member Indo-Soviet crew that also included the Ship’s Commander Yury Malyshev and Flight Engineer Gennadi Strekalov (USSR) to the Salyut 7 Orbital Station.  Sharma spent 7 days 21 hours and 40 minutes aboard the Salyut 7 during which his team conducted scientific and technical studies which included 43 experimental sessions.  His work was mainly in the fields of bio-medicine and remote sensing.  The crew held a joint television news conference with officials in Moscow and then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.  When Indira Gandhi asked Sharma how India looked from outer space, he replied Saare Jahan Se Achcha (the best in the world).

Interestingly, Aamir Khan is playing Rakesh Sharma in the next biopic that he is doing.

This Day: Rakesh Sharma becomes First Indian in Space

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