New Delhi: Today is the 73rd birthday of Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go to space. He was born on this day on 13 January 1949 in Patiala. Rakesh Sharma wanted to become a pilot since childhood. He took his military education from Hyderabad and was selected as a test pilot in the Indian Air Force. After which he never looked back.
It is worth mentioning that, when Rakesh Sharma went to space, an anecdote from that time is very famous. When he was in space and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked Rakesh Sharma ‘How does India look from space?’ To which Rakesh gave such an answer that, hearing that, the chest of all the Indians widened with pride. Let me tell you that, on Indira Gandhi’s question, she said, ‘I can say without any hesitation that Saare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan is ours.’
Let us tell you that on 20 September 1982, Rakesh Sharma was selected by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the mission of the space agency Intercosmos. After which he became the first Indian to go into space. Rakesh Sharma was the first person from India to go to space and he was ranked 138th in the world list. He left for space on April 3, 1984 from the Soviet Union’s spacecraft Soyuz T-11. After spending 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes in the space station, he returned to earth.
Rakesh Sharma did 33 experiments in space and after which he came back to earth. After coming back, Rakesh Sharma and his two companions were awarded the Ashok Chakra by the Government of India. Along with this, the Soviet government of that time also honored him with the honor of ‘Hero of Soviet Union’.
Rakesh Sharma retired as Wing Commander from IAF and later joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 1987, served as Chief Test Pilot in HAL Nashik Division till 1992. Later, he became Chief Test Pilot of HAL. Moved to Bangalore to work as a pilot. Rakesh Sharma retired in 2001.