In a first, Indian space tourist to fly on Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin flight tomorrow: ‘Dream big’ - Hindustan Times
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In a first, Indian space tourist to fly on Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin flight tomorrow: ‘Dream big’

May 18, 2024 04:27 PM IST

Gopichand Thotakura set to be first Indian space tourist on Blue Origin space tourism mission to Kármán line.

Gopichand Thotakura will become the first Indian space tourist on Sunday when he flies on Blue Origin’s mission.

Gopichand Thotakura to be first civilian Indian astronaut to embark on space tourism.
Gopichand Thotakura to be first civilian Indian astronaut to embark on space tourism.

Gopichand Thotakura, a pilot and aviator, will fly on the Blue Origin NS-25 mission to the Kármán line and back as part of a space tourism mission. The Kármán line is an internationally recognised boundary of space located at an altitude of 100 kilometres above sea level.

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Where to watch Blue Origin NS-25 space mission launch live?

The launch will occur at 7 pm IST, and can be watched on Blue Origin's social media platforms. The event will be streamed 40 minutes before the launch from Launch Site One in West Texas, USA.

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Who is Gopichand Thotakura?

1. Gopichand Thotakura is a pilot “who learned to fly before he could drive”.

2. He co-founded Preserve Life Corp, a global wellness centre near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

3. Gopi has served as an international medical jet pilot and has flown commercial jets, bush planes, aerobatic planes, seaplanes, gliders, and hot air balloons. He has performed over 2000 medical air ambulance missions.

4. He is an avid traveller and recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit.

5. Gopi graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

‘I am honoured to represent India.’

“It is an incredible honour to become India's first civilian astronaut as I cross the Kármán line with Blue Origin's NS-25 mission. This journey is not just a personal milestone but a testament to India's growing presence in space exploration," Thotakura said in a statement.

"I hope to inspire future generations to dream big, pursue STEAM education, and reach for the stars. Together, we can achieve the unimaginable. I am deeply grateful to Blue Origin and everyone who supported me in this incredible endeavour," he added.

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Who are the other crew members?

Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, is conducting its seventh human flight and the 25th mission in its programme's history. It has already launched 31 people to the Kármán line.

Joining Gopichand Thotakura on this journey are:

• Mason Angel, founder of Industrious Ventures

• Sylvain Chiron, founder of Brasserie Mont Blanc

• Kenneth L. Hess, software engineer and entrepreneur

• Carol Schaller, a retired CPA

• Ed Dwight, a former US Air Force captain whom US president John F. Kennedy selected in 1961 as the “nation’s first Black astronaut candidate but never had the opportunity to fly to space”.

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