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Captain Gopichand Thotakura, a pilot, is set to become the first Indian to travel to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s next flight on May 19, the company announced on Thursday.

He will become the second Indian to visit space, after Rakesh Sharma’s iconic journey aboard Russian Soyuz T-11 in 1984. After Rakesh Sharma, only people of Indian origin have been in space — Kalpana Chawla (1997), Sunita Williams (2006), and Raja Chari (2021) as NASA astronauts.

“As the first civilian Indian astronaut embarking on this historic journey with Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission, I am honoured to represent India on this voyage,” Captain Gopichand said.

“India is making a mark in space exploration worldwide. This voyage is a symbol of the spirit of human endeavour and ingenuity on a global scale. I hope this exploration inspires future generations of STEAM professionals as we push the boundaries of space exploration together,” he added.

Along with Captain Gopichand, Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission will carry distinguished crew members Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight to the edge of space.

According to the company, the mission is expected to lift off from Launch Site One in West Texas, with the launch window for the flight starting at 0830 CT (7 pm IST).

The Jeff Bezos’ owned company has to date undertaken six human flight missions, and launched 31 people to the Karman line — the internationally recognised boundary of space 100 kms above the ground.