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Russian envoy Denis Alipov extends wishes on 40th anniversary of Rakesh Sharma’s historic space flight

April 3, 2024 3:19 PM IST

Russia | rakesh sharma | Denis Alipov

Russian ambassador to India, Denis Alipov, on Wednesday extended his wishes to all Indians, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first-ever space flight by an Indian aboard the Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft.

“Warm congratulations to Hero Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma and all Indians on the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Indian space flight aboard Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft!,” he said in a post on X.

The Russian Embassy in India also recalled the space mission that carried Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma and two Russian cosmonauts.

In a post on X, the embassy said, “On April 3, 1984, the Soyuz-U launch vehicle put into orbit the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft under the #Intercosmos program. The crew consisting #Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Malyshev and Gennady Strekalov included #India’s first cosmonaut — Rakesh Sharma”.

The Indian Air Force also commemorated the milestone achievement of Wing Commander Sharma, marking the anniversary of his historic space journey 40 years ago.

On April 3, 1984, Sharma made history by becoming the first Indian to venture into outer space aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11. Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Sharma spent a total of 7 days, 21 hours, and 40 minutes in space.

With Sharma’s mission, India became the 14th country to send a cosmonaut beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Sharma was conferred the honour of the Hero of the Soviet Union upon his return from space. He remains to date the only Indian to have been conferred this honour. India also bestowed its highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra, upon Sharma.

In February, five years after the announcement of India’s human spaceflight program, Prime Minister Modi awarded astronaut wings to four astronaut-designates for the Gaganyaan mission, the country’s first human spaceflight mission. The four Indian Air Force pilots have undergone training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

(Inputs from ANI)

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