Rakesh Sharma

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Rakesh Sharma

Born: 13 January 1949

He is a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew aboard Soyuz T-11, launched on 2 April 1984, as part of the Interkosmos programme. 

He is the first Indian citizen to travel in space .

An alumnus of the 35th National Defence Academy, Sharma joined as a test pilot in the Indian Air Force in 1970. 

He was selected on 20 September in 1982 to become a cosmonaut and go into space as part of a joint program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program.

In 1984, he became the first Indian citizen to enter space when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic on the second of April 1984. 

He joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 1987 and served as the chief test pilot in the HAL Nashik Division until 1992, before moving on to Bangalore to work as the chief test pilot of HAL. He was also associated with the light combat aircraft, Tejas.

He was conferred with the honour of the Hero of the Soviet Union upon his return from space.

India conferred its highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra, on him and the other two Soviet members of his mission, Malyshev and Strekalov.

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