Indian-American NASA Astronaut Raja Chari About to Return to Earth after Six Months in Space
Indian-origin astronaut Raja Chari, who docked to the International Space Station last year, is set to return home to planet Earth later this month after spending almost six months
FREMONT, CA: Raja Chari, an Indian-origin astronaut who docked to the International Space Station (ISS) in November last year, is due to return to Earth later this month after nearly six months in zero gravity. Under the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission, which launched on November 10, 2021, Chari docked with the ISS alongside three other members: Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer.
Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari is a NASA astronaut and Indian-American test pilot with over 2,000 hours of flight time, including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployments supporting the Korean Peninsula. Chari went to the US Naval Test Pilot School after finishing his schooling. He also holds a command and general staff college diploma from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The 44-year-old, who was a Colonel selected in the US Air Force, was chosen to be a member of NASA Astronaut Group 22 in June 2017 and reported for duty in August, where he trained as an astronaut for two years. In December 2020, he was chosen to be a member of the Artemis team. NASA reported that the astronauts are likely to help “pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024.
In the same month, he was chosen as the first astronaut from Group 22 for the SpaceX Crew-3 mission, making him the first NASA rookie to lead a space mission since Gerald Carr led the Skylab 4 mission in 1973. Chari has also received several prizes and honors, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal during his Air Force career.