Meet Raja Chari, the Indian-origin NASA astronaut who is set to return home from space

Indian-Origin astronaut Raja Chari is all set to return home after spending six months in space. Chari docked at the International Space Station (ISS) along with three other members under the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

The Crew-3 astronauts will return to planet Earth later this month after a successful scientific mission in zero gravity. The mission launched on November 10, 2021.

The other three astronauts are Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron and European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer.  


Who is Raja Chari?

He is currently serving as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS. Raja Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He reported for duty in August 2017.

The Iowa native graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science.

He also holds a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

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What’s the mission?

Under the mission, the astronauts were also involved in four spacewalks, preparing the station for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits and replacing a faulty antenna on the Port-1 truss structure. 

They contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations. They worked on a variety of plant growth experiments, testing new systems for growing crops and studying potentially drought-resistant cotton plants.

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“They tested a handheld bioprinter designed to print bandages made from skin cells directly onto a wound, and a miniature scanning electron microscope. Crew members also installed a new device to support studies on fire safety in microgravity, and conducted one of the first archaeological experiments in space,” NASA said in a statement.

The four astronauts will return on the Dragon spacecraft named Endurance. They will splashdown off the coast of Florida to conclude the mission.

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