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Nasa selects Indian-American Raja Chari as commander of SpaceX Crew-3 mission

Nasa and the European Space Agency (ESA) have selected Indian-American Raja Chari to be the Commander of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station.

Raja Chari, 43, is a colonel in the US Air Force. He will be the commander of SpaceX Crew-3 mission while Nasa’s Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will serve as a mission specialist. This mission is expected to be launched next year.

In a statement on Monday, Nasa said the fourth crew member of this mission will be added at a later date, following a review by Nasa and its international partners.

“Excited and honoured to be training with @astro_matthias and @AstroMarshburn in prep for a trip to the @Space_Station,” Raja Chari said in a tweet.

On his Facebook page, he wrote that he is proud to be working and training with Matthias Maurer and Thomas Henry Marshburn in preparation for a mission to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

As per PTI, for Raja Chari, this will be the first spaceflight. He became a Nasa astronaut in 2017.

Chari was born in Milwaukee, but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown. He is a colonel in the US Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot.

In a statement detailing his profile, Nasa said Chari has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career. He was selected earlier this month as a member of the Artemis Team and is now eligible for assignment to a future lunar mission.

Raja Chari’s father Srinivas Chari left for the US from Hyderabad at a young age for an engineering degree.

When Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer arrive at the orbiting laboratory, they will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month stay. The crew will have a slight overlap with the Crew-2 astronauts, who are expected to launch in the spring of 2021.

(With PTI inputs)

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India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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