Curiosity for unknown made Wg Cdr Shubhanshu Shukla apply for Gaganyaan Mission - Hindustan Times
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Curiosity for unknown made Wg Cdr Shubhanshu Shukla apply for Gaganyaan Mission

By, Lucknow
Mar 04, 2024 06:21 PM IST

Shukla, a CMS Aliganj alumnus, was commissioned as a fighter pilot in 2006 and has been a fighter pilot for over 16 years, with over 2000 hours of flying experience.

Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla from Lucknow, one of the four selected for ISRO’s Gaganyaan Mission, said here on Tuesday that until the training began, it didn’t sink in that he had in fact got selected for this mission.

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Shukla, a CMS Aliganj alumnus, was commissioned as a fighter pilot in 2006 and has been a fighter pilot for over 16 years, with over 2000 hours of flying experience.

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He had also graduated as a fighter combat leader and a test pilot, of which the latter was a prerequisite for astronaut selection, he informed. “Venturing into the unknown comes with the domain knowledge of being a test pilot,” he said, adding, “It is familiar territory for us test pilots to pick up something unknown and figure it out along the way, which is why navigating the training process wasn’t all that difficult for us.”

Shukla confessed that the curiosity for the unknown was what drove him to apply for this mission and that the feeling of having been selected took a while to sink in as “it was all so fast and we were so busy at the time. It only sunk in when we had already left for training in Russia. The feeling sank in very gradually.” He also shared that while he had no apprehensions about the mission, “harbouring a little bit of anxiety is only sensible as it helps one to introspect. Doubt can be really important.”

“The mission was announced in 2018, after which the selection process lasted close to a year,” said Shukla, adding that around 70 fighter pilots had applied. The group trained for several months in Russia, following which they returned to home base to continue their training in India, all of which was almost four years in the making.

“More than anything, for me it is a sense of responsibility and I can only say that I am extremely fortunate to be doing what I am doing. We are quite confident and very excited for the mission,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sreya Deb is a Senior Correspondent with Hindustan Times and is based out of Lucknow. She covers a number of beats for the paper, including child rights, defence, gender, local and state transport, culture, civic issues, animal welfare and social welfare department, among others. She takes a particular interest in child rights and defence. Prior to HT Lucknow, she her academic and professional career in Journalism has spanned across Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai and West Bengal. having worked in The Patriot, Newslaundry, and The Citizen. She has also briefly reported on North-Eastern states while being based in West Bengal at her previous employment with a web publication.

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