Rakesh Sharma – The First Indian Person to Go into Space

Rakesh Sharma was a retired Indian pilot and also a Indian Air Force officer. He flew the Soyuz T-11 which was part of the Intercosmos programme and was launched back in April 02, 1984. He is best known all across the globe as the first Indian person who went to space.

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Early life and education

Rakesh Sharma was born on January 13, 1949 in Patiala, Punjab. He pursued his schooling from St. Georges Grammar School which is located in Hyderabad. He later enrolled himself in the Nizam College and later graduated from there.

He joined the Air Force when he was 18 years old as a cadet and was later admitted to the National Defence Academy where he was enrolled as an Air force plebe in the year 1966. Rakesh was commissioned as a pilot soon after in the year 1970 after his hard work and dedication.

Rakesh Sharma – Wife and children

  • Rakesh Sharma is married to his wife Madhu and the couple are proud parents of a son, Kapil Sharma and a daughter, Mansi Sharma. The couple currently resides in their family home in Coonor. His son is  film director who made ‘I, Me aur Main’ while his daughter is a media artist.


Rakesh Sharma started his career as a test pilot following his training as a cadet and plebe and joined the Indian Air Force in the year 1970. He achieved a lot within a short time span with his sheer dedication and hard work. He flew a number of Mikoyan-Gurevich aircrafts since 1971. He was also appointed as the Squadron Leader of the Indian Air Force in the year 1984.

It was in the year 1982 that the 5 feet 6 inch tall man  was selected to be a cosmonaut to go into space. It was on September 20, 1982 that he was told the news about being selected for being a cosmonaut for travelling into space for a joint programme arranged by the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program.

It was on April 02, 1984 that he flew aboard to visit space in the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 which took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. He was aboard for about 7 days 20 hours and 40 minutes along with his fellow cosmonauts who conducted several scientific studies which were divided into 43 experimental sessions. His phrase “Saare Jahan Se Accha” became a popular saying after he described how India looked from the outer space to Indira Gandhi.

Sharma is the very first Indian cosmonaut to visit space. He later retired from the Indian Air Force with the rank of a Wing Commander and later joined the Hindustan Aeronautics limited where he served as a Chief Test Pilot from 1987 till 1992. He was also part of the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas. He used to practice Yoga regularly to combat the health issues after coming back from space.

Following his return to India from the space, Sharma was awarded with the honour of the Hero of Soviet Union. He is also the achiever of the highest gallantry award of India, the Ashoka Chakra award.



Movie on Rakesh Sharma

Aamir Khan is all set to do ‘Saare Jahan Se Achcha’ a movie based on Rakesh Sharma’s life.  Apparently, when Indira Gandhi had asked Sharma how India looked from space, he said ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha’.

Rakesh Sharma-Indira Gandhi video (Saare Jahan Se Accha)

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