India, Russia mark 40th anniversary of first space flight
Courtesy: X/@AmbRus_India

India, Russia mark 40th anniversary of first space flight

Russian ambassador to India, Denis Alipov on Wednesday extended his wishes to all Indians over the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Indian space flight aboard Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft.

Additionally, the Russian Embassy in India also recalled the space mission that had Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma and two Russian cosmonauts on board.

"On April 3, 1984, the Soyuz-U launch vehicle put into orbit the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft under the #Intercosmos program. The crew consisting #Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Malyshev and Gennady Strekalov included #India's first cosmonaut -- Rakesh Sharma," the Russian embassy in India posted on X.

Earlier today, the Indian Air Force celebrated the achievement of Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the only Indian to have gone into space on the anniversary of his space journey on this day, 40 years ago.

Exactly 40 years ago, on April 3, 1984, Sharma scripted history by becoming the first Indian to reach outer space on board the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11.

Sharma flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

He spent 7 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes in space and with his flight India became the 14th nation to send a cosmonaut to outer space.

The Soyuz T-11 spacecraft carrying cosmonauts including Sharma docked and transferred the three-member Soviet-Indian international crew, consisting of the ship's commander, Yury Malyshev, and flight engineer, Gennadi Strekalov, to the Salyut 7 Orbital Station.

Sharma conducted several scientific studies and experiments, his work including remote sensing and bio-medicine. The crew even held a conference with officials from space.

Sharma was conferred the honour of the Hero of the Soviet Union upon his return from space. He remains to date the only Indian to have been conferred this honour. India also conferred its highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra to Rakesh Sharma.

Recently, five years after announcing India's human spaceflight programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February this year bestowed astronaut wings to four astronaut-designates for the Gaganyaan mission, the country's first human spaceflight mission.

The four chosen Indian Air Force pilots are Group Captain Prashanth Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla. The four astronauts were trained at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

Gaganyaan project envisages a demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching a crew of three members to an orbit of 400 km for a three-day mission and bringing them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.

The pre-requisites for the Gaganyaan mission include the development of many critical technologies including a human-rated launch vehicle for carrying the crew safely to space, a Life Support System to provide an earth-like environment to crew in space, crew emergency escape provision and evolving crew management aspects for training, recovery and rehabilitation of crew.

Various precursor missions are planned to demonstrate the Technology Preparedness Levels before carrying out the actual Human Space Flight mission. These demonstrator missions include the Integrated AirDrop Test (IADT), Pad Abort Test (PAT) and Test Vehicle (TV) flights.

The safety and reliability of all systems will be proven in unmanned missions preceding manned missions.

LVM3 rocket - The well-proven and reliable heavy lift launcher of ISRO, is identified as the launch vehicle for the Gaganyaan mission.


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