Four IAF fighter pilots to be India’s first Gaganyaan astronauts — Profiles | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Four IAF fighter pilots to be India’s first Gaganyaan astronauts — Profiles

Feb 27, 2024 04:02 PM IST

The four astronauts — Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Pratap, Ajit Krishnan, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla — are currently undergoing training for the historic mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced the names of the four astronauts who will undertake India’s maiden human space flight mission — Gaganyaan — slated to be launched in 2024-25.

PM Modi said the four astronauts are forces that encompass the aspirations of 1.4 billion people of India. (Official handout photo.)
PM Modi said the four astronauts are forces that encompass the aspirations of 1.4 billion people of India. (Official handout photo.)

The four astronauts — Group Captains Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Pratap, Ajit Krishnan, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla — are currently undergoing training for the historic mission, the prime minister said at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

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Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair

Nair, born in Thiruvazhiyad, Kerala on 26 August 1976, is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and recipient of the Sword of Honour at the Air Force Academy. He was commissioned on 19 December 1998 in the fighter stream of Indian Air Force (IAF). He is a Cat A flying instructor and a test pilot with approximately 3,000 hours of flying experience. He has flown variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, etc. He is also the alumnus of United States Staff College and a DS at DSSC, Wellington and FIS, Tambaram. He has commanded a premier fighter Su-30 squadron.

Group Captain Ajit Krishnan

Krishnan, born in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai on 19 April 1982, is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and recipient of President’s Gold Medal and Sword of Honour at Air Force Academy. He was commissioned on 21 June 2003 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He is a flying Instructor and a test pilot with approximately 2,900 hours of flying experience. He has flown variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-21, Mig-29, Jaguar, Dornier, An-32, etc. He is also an alumnus of DSSC, Wellington.

Group Captain Angad Pratap

Pratap, born in Prayagraj on 17 July 1982, is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned on 18 December 2004 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He is a flying instructor and a test pilot with approximately 2,000 hours of flying experience. He has flown variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, etc.

Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla

Shukla, born in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow on 10 October 1985, is also an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned on 17 June 2006 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He is a fighter combat leader and a test pilot with approximately 2,000 hours of flying experience. He has flown variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, etc.

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