Rakesh Sharma was born in Patiala, Punjab, on January 13, 1949. He went to St. George’s Grammar School for his early education and graduated from Nizam’s College in Hyderabad. He enrolled as an Air Force trainee at the National Defense Academy in July 1966. He then joined the Indian Air Force as a test pilot in 1970.
Rakesh Sharma made India proud in 1984 when he became the first Indian to enter space. Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma prepared for this mission by undergoing rigorous testing and training, demonstrating a wide range of talents, and proving himself a national hero. Rakesh Sharma, who was chosen as an Indian Air Force pilot, had no notion he would have the opportunity to attain this honor. During this campaign, he also conducted several tests that only a few people knew. Today is Rakesh Sharma’s 73rd birthday.
Rakesh Sharma was a pilot in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, which few people know. Rakesh became the squadron commander after this in 1982, when it was agreed that an Indian would fly to space with a Russian mission. He chose to take part in this difficult endeavor. But first, he had to pass a difficult exam.
The astronaut selection procedure was not simple. Before entering the Indian Air Force, Rakesh Sharma had previously completed the difficult pilot selection tests. But this was a one-of-a-kind situation. Most of the examinations in this selection procedure were medical exams, and Rakesh was one of just two applicants chosen out of 150 highly trained and experienced Indian Air Force pilots. Another was Ravish Malhotra’s name as a contender.
Even after Rakesh Sharma was chosen, it was not certain that Rakesh would go to space. Before it, he had to undergo a demanding training regimen. He received his training at the Yuri Gagarin Center in the Soviet Union (USSR), where he became a Soviet space specialist. Rakesh was therefore assured of going to space, but Ravish Malhotra was maintained as a backup passenger.
Rakesh Sharma, an Indian astronaut, spent seven days, twenty-one hours, and forty minutes in space as part of a collaborative project between ISRO and the Soviet Interkosmos space program. Commander Yury Malyshev and flight engineer Gennady Strekalov, both Russian cosmonauts, joined him on the trip.
Few Little-Known Facts
With the support of the Defense Cuisine Research Lab in Mysore, Rakesh Sharma could carry Indian food to space. Sharma enjoyed suji halwa, aloo chole, and vegetable pulao with his fellow astronauts. In 1984, he was the first to perform zero gravity yoga to combat space sickness. The Rocosmos thought his experiments were fascinating. A
Rakesh Sharma advised that the future Indian cosmonauts do zero-gravity yoga to deal with space sickness at a conference in 2009. He also narrowly avoided being killed in a MiG-21 crash in Nasik. He had previously worked at HAL as a chief test pilot, where he tested a variety of aircraft.
When Indira Gandhi, India’s then-Prime Minister, asked Rakesh Sharma how India seemed from space, he said, “Sare jahan se achha” (better than the whole world). He also said that daybreak and sunset were the most beautiful periods in space.
Rakesh Sharma is the first Indian to receive the Soviet Union’s “Hero of the Soviet Union” award. Along with his Russian co-astronauts Yuri Malyshev and Genadi Strekalov, he was given the Ashok Chakra.