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Birthday Bells: Rakesh Sharma, first Indian to travel in space turns 67

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When asked by Indira Gandhi “How does India look from space?” Rakesh Sharma replied “Saare-Jahaan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara” (known as Tarana-e-Hind penned down by Allama Iqbal).

Born on 13 January 1949 Rakesh Sharma made India proud by becoming the First Indian Air Force Pilot. He flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 on 2 April 1984, thus becoming the first Indian to travel in space.

Some facts about our Space hero:

 Born in Patiala Punjab, completed schooling from St. Georges Grammar School and graduated from Nizam College in Hyderabad.

 Further got enrolled as an Air Force Cadet in 1966.

 After four years of dedicated training Sharma got recruited as a test pilot by Indian Air Force in 1970.

 Sharma became a Cosmonaut on 20 September 1980 as a part of Joint programme between the Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) and The Soviet Intercosmos space programme.

 Moving ahead with great dedication and speed he progressed through many levels and got appointed as a Squadron leader and a pilot in Indian Air Force in 1984.

 He became the first Indian to travel in space when he flew aboard on Soyuz T-11 on 2 April 1984.He spent 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes up there.

 After retiring with the rank of a Wing Commander, Sharma joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as a Chief Test Pilot in 1987.

 The incredible service by Rakesh Sharma made India the 14th nation to send a man onto space and made him the 128th person to travel in space.

 Rakesh Sharma was also awarded the highest award of that time i.e “The Ashok Chakra” Award.

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