Meet Gopichand Thotakura, the second Indian set to fly to space

Thotakura will travel to space as part of the crew for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin's New Shephard-25 mission

By ANI

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Gopichand Thotakura. Source: X/BlueOrigin
Gopichand Thotakura. Source: X/BlueOrigin

Published: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 11:38 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 10:26 PM

Gopichand Thotakura is poised to make history by becoming the second Indian citizen to travel to space. He will travel to space as part of the crew for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin's New Shephard-25 (NS-25) mission.

The flight date will be announced soon.


Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot, was the first Indian citizen to travel to space in 1984.

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In an exclusive interview to ANI, Thotakura talks about his dream and passion for flying and how the mission is working towards protecting Mother Earth. He further talks about space tourism and how it can open avenues and make it affordable and accessible for civilians.

It is a moment of great pride and excitement for Thotakura. Elucidating his feelings, he says, "I can't express my feelings right now because it is something that is not in the urban dictionary. It is something I take with me. I always tell people that right from when you are born till the time you leave, you wake up and want to see the sky, want to take a breath, but I want to have this opportunity to do the reverse, to go up there and see down here. Movies do a fantastic job but (to see) what the naked eye can see, you have to do that yourself. The whole excitement is about to look back and see what's going on, without being documented or without someone else's eye."

He further emphasised Blue Origin's tagline, 'For the benefit of Earth' and added that he also feels that protecting Mother Earth is important. "It is for them to protect Mother Earth that they are seeking life and adventure outside the planet," he said.

When asked about space tourism, he says "The mission for Blue Origin or any other company is to make it affordable. What the affordable number is, we still don't know but to make it affordable, it has to start somewhere," he said.

He further said that Blue Origin has tied up with NASA to open a private international space station to grow space tourism and get into that sector. "I believe that space tourism is where the future is," he added.

Gopichand puts great emphasis on how one can fulfil his or her dreams and suggests to the upcoming generations... that if someone sticks to it and forms his or her path, it will happen.

Each astronaut will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future. The club's mission is to inspire and mobilise future generations to pursue careers in STEAM for the benefit of Earth.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin has announced the six-person crew for its NS-25 mission, which includes Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L Hess, Carol Schaller, Gopi Thotakura, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight. Notably, Ed Dwight was selected by President John F Kennedy in 1961 as the nation's first black astronaut candidate. Unfortunately, he was never given the opportunity to fly to space.

The flight date will be announced soon.

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