Study In India
Aviation-Rakesh Sharma
The first Indian to visit space Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (retd)

Born in Patiala Punjab joined the Indian Air Force and progressed rapidly through the ranks.

Rakesh Sharma, then squadron leader and pilot with the Indian Air Force embarked on the historic mission in 1984 as part of a joint space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program. He spent eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station.

During the flight, Squadron Leader Sharma conducted multi-spectral photography of northern India in anticipation of the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Himalayas. Squadron Leader Sharma and his backup, Wing Commander Ravish Malhotra, prepared an elaborate series of zero-gravity Yoga exercises which the former had practised aboard the Salyut 7.

In a famous conversation, he was asked by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi how India looked from the space and he replied, Saare Jahan Se Achcha, (better than the whole world).

He was conferred with the honour of Hero of Soviet Union upon his return from space. The Government of India conferred its highest gallantry award (during peace time), the Ashoka Chakra on him and the other two Russian members of his mission.

Retired with the rank of Wing Commander, Rakesh Sharma joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as a test pilot. He was based at the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bangalore and worked on the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft program.

Rakesh Sharma has now retired from active employment. He is currently the Chairman of The Board for Automated Workflow. In November 2006 he took part in India's top scientists gathering organized by ISRO which gave the green signal to an Indian manned space mission.