Amid the global pandemic of Covid-19, Odisha-born pilot Nikhil Rath brings good news for his state. Nikhil Rath has been selected as one of the four pilots to go to space.
Nikhil Rath has reportedly completed his training in Russia for India’s first manned space mission, Gaganyaan to be held in 2022. According to ROSCOSMOS, the Russian Space Corporation, the four cosmonauts have completed training on crew actions in all weather and all terrain modules. These four cosmonauts were trained on landing on wooded and marshy areas in winter in the month of February, on the water surface in the month of June and in the steppe in summer in the month of July.
Wing commander Nikhil Rath, hailing from the Balangir district of Odisha, was included in the preliminary list of 25 astronauts to undertake the training in Russia in September 2019, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). They had undergone the training in Russia for a year, for a seven-day space mission under the ambitious Gaganyaan mission.
The Rs 10,000 crore Gaganyaan mission was delayed by a year due to the pandemic and is now expected to be launched in 2022 but the exact date is not set.
About Nikhil Rath
Rath’s father Ashok Rath is a Balangir-based lawyer and his mother, Kusum Rath, is a member of Women Commission.
Nikhil Rath did his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Balangir in 1998. In 2000, he completed his Intermediate from the Delhi Public School. After this, he cleared the IAF entrance exam in the very first attempt and joined the Indian Air Force in the year, 2003.
Nikhil Rath’s father said: “Going to space is definitely a risky job. But our family has been serving the nation. My father was a freedom fighter and my brother who was a commandant in CRPF, was martyred in Mizoram.
“I too had a desire to join defence but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Now my son is serving the country”, added Ashok Rath.
This is indeed a great achievement for Odisha as well as for India. Through this mission, India will become just the fourth nation in the world to send astronauts to space after the United States, Russia and China.