Rakesh Sharma created a significant milestone in the India’s space exploration by becoming the first Indian to venture into outer space. His historic mission to the Salyut 7 space station, spanning seven days, 21hours and 40 minutes, marked a monumental milestone in Indian and global space history.
Personal Details of Rakesh Sharma
Birth date: 13th January 1949
Birthplace: Patiala, Punjab
Parents: Devendranath Sharma; Tripata Sharma
Wife: Madhu Sharma
Alumnus: 35th National Defence Academy
Educational Life of Rakesh Sharma
Rakesh Sharma attended St. Ann’s High School and St. George’s Grammar School for his early education. He graduated from Nizam College, Hyderabad. His pivotal training was at the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakvasla, Pune, setting the path for his historical space journey.
Professional Career: Indian Air Force
Rakesh Sharma joined the Indian Air Force as a test pilot in 1970. He became a squadron leader by 1984 and flew Mig-21 planes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, completing 21 combat missions. On 20th September 1982, he was picked for a special program by the Indian Air Force and the Soviet Union’s space program. He trained hard at Moscow’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center for two years. Before his space journey, he underwent a 72-hour test for claustrophobia by being locked in a room. Finally, he made history as the first Indian to travel to space, a remarkable journey from test pilot to space explorer.
First Indian to go to Space
Rakesh Sharma was the first Indian to go to space. On 3rd April 1984, he was on board Soyuz T-11, launched from Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic’s Baikunor Cosmodrome. The Soyuz T-11 spacecraft docked and transferred the three-member Soviet-Indian International crew at Salyut-7, they spent 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes aboard the Salyut-7. The team performed technical and scientific studies, part of which were 43 experimental sessions. Rakesh Sharma mostly worked in remote sensing and bio-medicine. In a joint TV news conference with the then PM Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi asked Rakesh Sharma how India looked from outer space; he quoted Iqbal, saying ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha’. Rakesh Sharma’s venture into the space made India 14th nation to have sent a human into space and the 128th man to go to space.
Awards presented to Rakesh Sharma
Rakesh Sharma had received several awards for his accomplishments, these are:
- 25th Anniversary of Independence Medal
- 9 years long service medal
- Ashoka Chakra
- Hero of the Soviet Union
- Paschimi Star
- Sainya Seva Medal
- Sangram Medal
- Videsh Seva Service Medal