Indian-American US Air Force fighter pilot Raja Chari will be the commander of the SpaceX flight due to be launched on October 31. Born and brought up in USA's Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Peggy Egbert and Sreenivas V Chari, he is all set to go on his first space flight as its commander in the very shot itself. In a virtual media interaction on Wednesday evening, Chari said that this mission among other things will help in testing technologies at the space station for Nasa’s mission to the moon called Artemis.
This will be SpaceX’s fourth launch of NASA astronauts and its fifth passenger flight overall. NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing to transport crews to and from the space station, following the retirement of the shuttle fleet in 2011. U.S. astronauts hitched rides on Russian rockets until SpaceX took over the job last year.
Boeing has yet to launch anyone. A repeat test flight of its Starliner capsule, without a crew, is off until next year because of valve trouble.
Once he launches atop SpaceX’s Falcon rocket, German astronaut Matthias Maurer will become the 600th person in space, according to NASA statistics. He said at a news conference Tuesday that he offered the designation to U.S. crewmate Kayla Barron, who will be the 601st.
(With agency Inputs)