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Indian expatriate Gopi Thotakura makes history, becomes first Indian space tourist

Mon, 20 May 2024   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Washington, DC [US], May 20 (ANI): 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 successfully 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.
Moreover, New Shepard has now flown 37 people into space, including today’s crew.
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.
Last month, in an exclusive interview to ANI, Thotakura spoke about his dream and passion for flying and how the mission is working towards protecting Mother Earth. He further spoke about space tourism and how it can open avenues and make it affordable and accessible for civilians.
Elucidating his feelings, he had said, “I can’t express my feelings right now because it is something that is not in the urban dictionary. It is something I take with me. I always tell people that right from when you are born till the time you leave, you wake up and want to see the sky, want to take a breath, but I want to have this opportunity to do the reverse, to go up there and see down here. Movies do a fantastic job but (to see) what the naked eye can see, you have to do that yourself. The whole excitement is about to look back and see what’s going on, without being documented or without someone else’s eye.”
He further emphasised Blue Origin’s tagline, ‘For the benefit of Earth’ and added that he also feels that protecting Mother Earth is important. “It is for them to protect Mother Earth that they are seeking life and adventure outside the planet,” he said.
Moreover, 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 mobilise 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. (ANI)



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