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Know the four Indian astronauts-select chosen for Gaganyaan mission

Published:

NEW DELHI:

Narendra Modi

on Tuesday became the first Prime Minister to visit

Isro

’s Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in four decades, where he met the four astronauts-select — Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Angad Pratap, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla —who have been shortlisted for the

Gaganyaan mission

.

At VSSC, PM Modi bestowed ‘astronaut wings’ on the four test pilots after introducing them to the world and called them “the pride of today’s India” who “who will take the aspirations of 140 crore Indians to space”.
The profiles of the four astronauts-select:
Group Captain Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair:

A native of Nenmara in Palakkad in Kerala, Nair completed his schooling in Kuwait where his father was employed. After coming back to India, he did his engineering from NSS College, Akathethara, in Palakkad and joined the NDA course in Khadakwasla and then entered 163rd pilot course at the Air Force Academy from where he passed out with flying colours as he bagged the ‘Sword of Honour’. Nair joined the IAF as a commissioned officer in 1999. Nair, who has flown a variety of fighter aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, commanded a Su-30 squadron. He was also the first rank holder at the US Air Force Air Command and Staff College in Alabama. For Gaganyaan, he underwent training for the mission in Russia and was later trained in Bengaluru’s Human Space Flight Centre.

Group Captain Ajit Krishnan:
Born in Chennai in 1982, Group Captain Krishnan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal and Sword of Honour at Air Force Academy. Krishnan was commissioned into the IAF on June 21, 2003 and promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in June 2016 and later promoted to Group Captain rank. He is a flying instructor with 2,900 hours of flying experience and has flown a variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, Mig-29 and Jaguar. He is also an alumnus of DSSC, Wellington.
Group Captain Angad Prathap:
Born in UP’s Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad), Prathap is also an alumnus of NDA. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF on Dec 18, 2004 and rose to the rank of Wing Commander in Dec 2017 and was later promoted as Group Captain in the IAF. He is a flying instructor and a test pilot with 2,000 hours of flying experience. He has flown a variety of aircraft, including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier and An-32.
Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla:
Shukla, born in UP’s state capital Lucknow on Oct 10, 1985, is also an alumnus of NDA and was commissioned on June 17, 2006 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He is a fighter combat leader and a test pilot with 2,000 hours of flying experience. He too has flown a variety of aircraft, including top-notch fighter planes Su-30 MKI, and MiG-29. He was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in June 2019. He too was trained in Moscow’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center during the pandemic period in various aspects of space movement.

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