Raja Chari Is The Only Indian-American Selected For NASA’s Mission To Moon

An Indian American US Air Force colonel, Raja Chari is now among the 18 astronauts who have been selected by NASA for its manned mission to the Moon. Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari is now among the 18 astronauts who have been selected by NASA for its manned mission to the Moon. While talking to Twitter, the US space agency informed that Chari will form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024. The 43-year-old was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, he is also a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and US Naval Test Pilot School.

Chari was the commander of the 46t1st Flight Test Squadron and the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. He flew several combat missions in the F-15E Strike Eagle in Iraq. He has led many combat mission deployments in the Korean Peninsula. At the time of his selection in June 2017, Chari was serving as the Commander. Chair completed two years of training as an Astronaut Candidate. He then served as the Director of the Joint Test Team for NASA. He is currently serving as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS, which launched on November 10, 2021.

He would be the third Indian American in Space, after Sunita Williams in 1998, and Kalpana Chawla in 2003. He was among those chosen from 18000 applicants.

During his Air Force career, Chari was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. Chari is an Eagle Scout and was a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Undergraduate Pilot Training.

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