Gopi Thotakura makes history, becomes first Indian space tourist

Monday, 20 May, 2024
(Photo courtesy: Blue Origin)

Washington: Indian expatriate Gopi Thotakura made history as he became the first Indian space tourist and the second Indian to venture into space as part of the crew for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin's NS-25 mission. 

The Blue Origin completed its seventh human spaceflight and the 25th flight for the New Shepard program on Sunday. 

Andhra-born Gopi Thotakura was a part of the crew among five other crew members. 

Besides Gopi Thotakura, the astronaut crew included Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, who was selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the nation's first black astronaut candidate but never had the opportunity to fly, the official website of Blue Origin stated. 

Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President, New Shepard, said, "A big thank you to our astronaut customers for the opportunity to provide this life-changing experience." 

"Each of you are pioneers helping to advance our mission to build a road to space for the benefit of Earth," Joyce added. 

Each astronaut carried a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future. The club's mission is to inspire and mobilize future generations to pursue careers in STEAM for the benefit of Earth. 

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot, was the first Indian citizen to fly to space in 1984.

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