Andhra born pilot Gopi Thotakura to become first Indian space tourist

Wednesday 17th April 2024 07:55 EDT

KENT (WASHINTON): Indian American Gopi Thotakura will become the first Indian space tourist. Blue Origin says he will be on their next flight to the edge of space.

“Gopi is a pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive,” according to Blue Origin. Besides being a commercial pilot, he is also a medical jet pilot and an avid traveller, who recently aced “the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro” in Tanzania.

“Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes, as well as gliders and hot air balloons, and has served as an international medical jet pilot.” Blue Origin said.

He will be a part of the six-person crew flying on Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission. Jeff Bezos’ space venture is yet to announce the dates.

Born in Vijayawada, Gopi studied at Sarala Birla Academy, a private school in Bengaluru, according to his LinkedIn profile. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Gopi is also the co-founder of Preserve Life, a global centre for holistic wellness and applied health located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

While Gopi is set to become the first space tourist of Indian origin, travel documentary producer Santhosh George Kulangara has also vied for a spot having paid for a seat on a Virgin Galactic space plane. He is known to have undergone multiple training sessions and flights to prepare for the role.

Blue Origin has, since July 2021, carried out six crewed flights, and CEO Jeff Bezos himself took part in the first.

The company’s reusable New Shepard rocket will take the six-person crew to space above the Karman line– an internationally recognized boundary of space that lies 62 miles above the Earth’s surface– in a typical 11-minute flight.

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