Updated May 21st, 2024 at 23:19 IST

Gopichand Thotakura: First Indian Space Tourist Flaunts Tricolour In Blue Origin's New Shepard Crew

Gopichand Thotakura becomes the first Indian in space tourism, joining Blue Origin's New Shepard crew on a historic May 19 flight.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Gopichand Thotakura: First Indian Space Tourist In Blue Origin's Crew | Image:Instagram: blueorigin
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Blue Origin successfully completed its seventh human spaceflight and the 25th flight for the New Shepard program. The astronaut crew comprised Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, Gopi Thotakura, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight. Selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the nation's first Black astronaut candidate, Dwight never had the chance to fly until now.

And in a historic achievement, Gopichand Thotakura, an Indian-origin entrepreneur and pilot, has become the first person from India to participate in space tourism. Thotakura was part of a seven-member crew that launched into space on May 19 as part of the New Shepard programme, commissioned by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.

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A video of Thotakura proudly displaying a tiny Indian tricolour in the spacecraft has gone viral. In the video, shared by Blue Origin, all seven crew members can be seen enjoying the exhilarating experience of weightlessness in space. Thotakura appears in front of the camera holding a placard that reads, “I am an Eco hero of my sustainable planet.” He then showcases the tiny tricolour, which floats gracefully in the microgravity environment of the spacecraft.

“Forever changed,” the Blue Origin handle wrote on Instagram.

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The video has sparked widespread curiosity and excitement among social media users. One user commented, “I’m genuinely curious what is the goal of this, what is being achieved by all these agencies and countries that are getting involved in this.” Another user expressed, “I wouldn’t spend a second wasting time floating, waving to a camera. I would be glued to the window looking at the wonder our planet is.”

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“Love from India,” another user reacted enthusiastically.

Blue Origin shared more about Thotakura on X, stating, “Gopi Thotakura is a lifelong pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive. He flies jets commercially, in addition to piloting bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes. He’s also the co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health.”

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At 30 years old, Gopi Thotakura is the co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a medical institution located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The other members of the space trip included Kenneth L Hess, Sylvain Chiron, Mason Angel, Ed Dwight, and Carol Schallera.

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Published May 21st, 2024 at 23:19 IST