Kerala's Santhosh George Kulangara could be India's first space tourist via Virgin Galactic

Santhosh George Kulangara was travelling on a train in the United Kingdom when he saw the advertisement for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. It was in 2005.
Santosh George Kulangara during zero-gravity training. (Photo: Safari TV)
Santosh George Kulangara during zero-gravity training. (Photo: Safari TV)
Published on Aug 13, 2021 10:08 PM IST
Copy Link | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Kerala's Santhosh George Kulangara is a 49-year-old man who had signed up from Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic back in 2005. And now, he could become India's first space tourist via Virgin Galactic. It is not yet known when the globetrotter who has visited 130 countries across seven continents will take off, but reports said he will be there in one of the early batches.

Here are 10 things you need to know about this media entrepreneur, globe trotter

1. In 2005, when he was in the UK, travelling on a train, he came across an ad in a newspaper. In this ad, Richard Branson was inviting people to join the space tour.

2. There were a few steps, interviews, following which he was enrolled as the first space tourist from India in 2007.

3. The trip will cost 1.8 crore approximately. But there are other expenses for training etc. He already took one training programme at the Kennedy Space Centre in 2011.

4. The training involved feeling weightless as it would happen in a zero-gravity situation and feeling heavier by six times etc.

5. Santhosh George Kulangara is a familiar face on Malayalam television and he is the founder and the managing director of Safari TV.

6. All his travels are telecast through Sancharam, which is known as the first visual travelogue in Malayalam. Santhosh George Kulangara has directed an English movie Chandrayaan. He began his solo journey across the globe in 1997.

7. The first country he visited was Nepal, followed by the Maldives. Then he went to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. He had crossed the India-Nepal border on foot from border village Sunoli.

8. Santhosh plans to carry his camera, his constant companion, to space, he has said in interviews.

9. On his website, he has mentioned "finance for every visit of mine was generated by my toiling day and night. My journey continues in that tradition".

10. Santhosh is also a part-time member of the Kerala State Planning Board.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021