Balangir: Wing Commander Nikhil Rath of Balangir has approved the initial round of selection of astronauts to train for the first manned mission of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in space in 2021.
All 25 shortlisted pilots, including Nikhil, will undergo one-year training in Russia for space missions under the ambitious Gaganyaan mission. If Odisha’s Indian Air Force pilot is selected in the final list, he will be among three astronauts to go into space for a seven-day mission.
Nikhil is the son of Kusum Rath, a Balangir-based senior advocate and member of the Women’s Commission.
In the first attempt, he cleared the entrance exam and joined the National Defense Academy (NDA) as a cadet. He joined the Indian Air Force in 2003.
“Going into space is a risky job. But our family has been serving the nation. My father was a freedom fighter and my elder brother, who was a commandant in the CRPF, was martyred in Mizoram. I also wanted to join the defense service but unfortunately, that did not happen. Now my son is serving the country, ”said Ashok.
Under the Gaganyaan mission, an ISRO spacecraft carrying three astronauts of the armed forces will fly in 2021.
Source: The New Indian Express