Home / News / World /  Meet Raja Chari, NASA astronaut nominated as US Air Force Brigadier General

US President Joe Biden nominated Indian American astronaut Raja J Chari as Indian Air Force's brigadier general. The nomination was announced on Thursday and will have to be confirmed by the Senate. As per the US defence department, the Senate approves all senior civilian and military appointments.

Colonel Chari, 45, has been nominated for the appointment to the grade of Brigadier General. It is a one-star General Officer rank of the United States Air Force, just above Colonel and below Major General.

Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He reported for duty in August 2017. The Iowa native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He continued to earn a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He served as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS, which launched on November 10, 2021. He served on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 66 and 67 before returning to Earth on May 6, 2022, completing the agency’s third long-duration commercial crew mission. The international crew of four spent 177 days in orbit.

Chari has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18 including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployments in support of the Korean peninsula.

Chari served as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS, which launched on November 10, 2021. He served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station for 177 days in orbit. During his time on the Space Station, he performed two spacewalks and helped in capturing and releasing three SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and two Cygnus cargo vehicles.

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