America’s NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) have selected 3 astronauts, including Indian-American Raja Chari, to serve as crew members for SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is expected to launch in late 2021.
Raja Chari will serve as commander for the mission while NASA’s Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will serve as a mission specialist, NASA released a statement on Monday. Another crew member will be added at a later date, following a review by NASA and its international partners of the mission.
This mission marks the first spaceflight for Raja Chari, who became a NASA astronaut in the year 2017. He is a colonel in the US Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot back in the army and NASA. He has accumulated 2,500+ hours of flight time in his career.
Raja was among the special group of 18 astronauts selected last week to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and first man (in 21st century) on the lunar surface in 2024. His father Sreenivas V. Chari immigrated from Hyderabad during 80’s.
Raja Chari will spend 6 months in the International Space station and will join the elite group of people who spent a considerable amount of time in Space.