TEXAS: Meet Gopi Thotakura, Indian Who Will Soon Go To The Edge Of Outer Space

TEXAS: Meet Gopi Thotakura, Indian Who Will Soon Go To The Edge Of Outer Space

TEXAS: In an unprecedented leap towards the stars, pilot Gopichand Thotakura is set to become the first Indian to venture into space as a tourist. Selected as part of the elite crew for Blue Origin’s New Shephard-25 (NS-25) mission, Mr Thotakura will make a journey beyond the Earth’s atmosphere along with five other candidates.

Gopichand Thotakura, an entrepreneur and pilot, joins a distinguished lineup of 31 candidates who have flown beyond the Karman line, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.

A connoisseur of the skies since his youth, Mr Thotakura’s passion for flight saw him defy conventional norms, learning to pilot aircraft before mastering the art of driving. To further his passion, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science.

Describing him, Blue Origins wrote, “Gopi is a pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive. Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes, as well as gliders and hot air balloons, and has served as an international medical jet pilot. A lifelong traveler, his most recent adventure took him to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

Born in Vijayawada, the 30-year-old currently runs Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Each member of the NS-25 mission will carry a postcard on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, symbolizing the collective dreams and aspirations of young minds worldwide.

From an environmental standpoint, the NS-25 mission heralds a new era of sustainability in space exploration.

“Nearly 99% of New Shepard’s dry mass is reused, including the booster, capsule, engine, landing gear, and parachutes. New Shepard’s engine is fueled by highly efficient liquid oxygen and hydrogen. During flight, the only byproduct is water vapor with no carbon emissions,” Blue Origins said in their statement.

The launch date for the mission is yet to be announced.

The mission also includes former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, who was selected by US President John F Kennedy in 1961 as the country’s first Black astronaut candidate but was never granted the opportunity to fly to space.

Blue Origin has carried out six crewed flights — some passengers were paying customers and others were guests — since July 2021, when CEO Jeff Bezos himself took part in the first.

The company is also developing a heavy rocket for commercial purposes called New Glenn, with the maiden flight planned for next year.

 This rocket, which measures 98 meters (320 feet) high, is designed to carry payloads of as much as 45 metric tons into low Earth orbit.

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