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India’s First Astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, Shares His Experience in Space at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex this Fall

India’s First Astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, Shares His Experience in Space
at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex this Fall

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Aug. 6, 2015) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Of the Earth's six billion people, approximately 500 men and women have ever flown in space. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, guests have the rare opportunity to meet veteran astronauts from NASA’s famous Astronaut Corps during the Astronaut Encounter experience. This fall, Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma will present at Astronaut Encounter.
Sharma will appear at Astronaut Encounter Oct. 5-9 where he will share a multimedia presentation about his space experience, including his background, training areas, mission and more. Following the presentation, guests will have the opportunity to ask questions and pose for a photo with Sharma, the first Indian citizen to travel to space.

Sharma’s passion for flying prompted him to join the Indian Air Force as a test pilot in 1970. During the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, he flew 21 combat missions, spurring a swift climb through military ranks. On Sept. 20, 1982, he was chosen to become a cosmonaut and journey into space as part of a joint program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Intercosmos space programs.

On April 2, 1984, Sharma blasted off into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz T-11 spacecraft eventually docked and transferred the three-member Soviet-Indian international crew to the Salyut-7 Orbital Station. The crew spent seven days, 21 hours and 40 minutes orbiting Earth and completed 43 experimental sessions.

Of the experimental sessions, Sharma was responsible for areas focusing in the fields of bio-medicine and remote sensing. A few of the experiments he performed included photography of India from space and exercises to study the effects of yoga on the body during weightlessness.

Post retirement, Sharma has directed projects for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and currently serves as chairman of the board for Automated Workflow, a process-management company based in Bangalore.

Astronaut Encounter is included in daily visitor complex admission.