Tricolour in space: First Indian tourist in Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission displays Indian flag miles away from Earth

The first Indian tourist, Gopichand Thotakura, made history by journeying into space on Blue Origin's New Shepard-25 mission, which was organized by Jeff Bezos.

Livemint
First Published22 May 2024
Entrepreneur and pilot Gopichand Thotakura was the first Indian tourist to journey into space.
Entrepreneur and pilot Gopichand Thotakura was the first Indian tourist to journey into space.

Entrepreneur and pilot Gopichand Thotakura made history as the first Indian tourist to journey into space, during Sunday's Blue Origin's New Shepard-25 mission, organized by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

A video shared on Blue Origin's official Instagram account captured the moment Thotakura showcased a small tricolour flag.

Watch the video here:

A netizen commented, “The flag is a symbol of unity for Our Planet and this little clip will now be used to open the segment on the atmosphere. It might inspire youth to potentially take an interest in space, exploration, or simply flying, or any other thought process that comes from watching this! Hope I answered your question that it was a very big honor for me. that Gopi considered taking this flag into space with him .. and it means an even bigger deal for all the kids that I talk to and who follow the program!!”

Netizens react to the post on Instagram.

Another one wrote, “Such a proud moment.” A user commented, “Sky is the limit for all of us, but for you, that's where your journey starts.”

The 30-year-old entrepreneur and pilot, who was born in Andhra Pradesh, was also seen holding a banner that read, “I am an eco-warrior for our sustainable planet.”

Also Read: ‘Saturn. You beauty!’ Netizens react as NASA shares new 'unreal' images from Space

Other astronauts on the flight include 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.

All crew members expressed their excitement about the flight experience. The New Shepard spacecraft has now transported 37 individuals into space, including the crew from today's mission. This mission marked the seventh human flight for the New Shepard program and the 25th overall. The program has carried 31 humans above the Karman line, the proposed boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space.

Also Read: 10 breathtaking NASA images showing Earth in all its glory; from Shanghai city lights to storm in Arabian sea, see pics

Developed by Blue Origin, New Shepard is a fully reusable suborbital launch vehicle designed for space tourism. One of the crew members, Gopi Thotakura, is a pilot and aviator who learned to fly before he could drive. He co-founded Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, PTI reported.

In addition to commercial jet flying, Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, seaplanes, gliders, and hot air balloons. He also serves as an international medical jet pilot.

Thotakura, a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is an avid traveler. His recent adventure took him to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Also Read: Chandrayaan 3: ISRO reveals Earth and Moon's spectacular images captured by lander imager camera

During the flight, each astronaut carried a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future. This program aims to give students access to space on Blue Origin's rockets and offers an all-digital method for creating and sending postcards.

The Club's mission is to inspire and mobilize future generations to pursue careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) for the benefit of Earth.

(With inputs from PTI)

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