Captain Gopichand makes history, first Indian to go on a space tour

After Rakesh Sharma's historic 1984 trip on Russia's Soyuz T-11 spacecraft, pilot Thotakura, who was born in Vijayawada, became the second Indian to explore space.

Captain Gopichand Thotakura on Sunday became the first Indian ever to tour the edge of space on Blue Origin’s crewed flight mission.

Vijayawada-born pilot Thotakura has become the second Indian to visit space, after Rakesh Sharma’s historic flight on Russia’s Soyuz T-11 spacecraft in 1984.

After Sharma, three persons of Indian origin have reached space — Kalpana Chawla (1997), Sunita Williams (2006), and Raja Chari (2021) as NASA astronauts.

“Capsule touchdown. Welcome back, #NS25 crew!” Blue Origin said in a post on X.

The seventh human flight missions by the Jeff Bezos-owned company also carried five others — 90-year-old Ed Dwight, Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, and Carol Schaller.

The 11-minute flight launched at 8.06 pm IST from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas.

The reusable New Shepard rocket, on its 25th mission, will fly the six-person crew to space above the Karman line — an internationally recognised boundary of space that lies 100 km above the Earth’s surface.

This is Blue Origin’s first flight in nearly two years, after the New Shepard rocket was grounded for months after a failed uncrewed launch in September 2022.

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