Indian-American astronaut selected for NASA’s moon mission

Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari, an Indian-American is among the 18 astronauts selected for NASA’s Artemis Program and is the only Indian-American on the list.

Raja Chari is a US Air force colonel and is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US Naval Test Pilot School, and US Air force academy. He was selected as part of NASA’s 2017 Astronaut Candidate List.

Raja Chari shared the news on Twitter and said that he is extremely proud to be a part of this mission.

In a video, shared on Twitter, NASA introduced the 18 astronauts, and wrote:

“It is part of the human spirit to explore. Today, we’d like to introduce you to our @NASAArtemis team— the initial team of @NASA Astronauts who will help pave the way for our next human missions on and around the Moon”

The Artemis program is a US government-funded spaceflight mission to be carried out by NASA in association with other U.S. commercial spaceflight companies contracted by NASA, and international partners including the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Italian Space Agency (ASI) the Australian Space Agency (ASA), the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) and the State Space Agency of Ukraine.

One of the main goals of the mission is to land “the first woman and the next man” on the Moon, specifically at the lunar South Pole region by 2024. Several astronauts from diverse backgrounds were considered for the mission. The youngest selected member is 32 while the oldest is 55. Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, the two astronauts who performed the world’s first all-female spacewalk last year, are also included in the list.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages poured in from Indian users on Twitter for Raja Chari.

Here are some reactions: