After Chandrayaan-2, now Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working for its next level space mission Gaganyaan which is set to take place in 2022. According to the latest news, Wing Commander Nikhil Rath of the Indian Air Force qualifies to be the part of the team which will go for Gaganyaan.
Nikhil Rath belongs to Balangir district, Odisha. He has been selected among 25 test pilots in the preliminary list of astronauts at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru. Nikhil will be the part of ISRO’s first manned mission to space in 2022. The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme is within Rs 10,000 crore.
Nikhil’s father Ashok Rath is a Balangir-based senior lawyer and his mother Kusum Rath is a member of Women Commission. Ashok Rath on his son’s selection for another greater mission said that,
“It is a matter of pride not only for me but also for Balangir as well as Odisha. He has been selected to undergo training for the space project. Our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2018, had declared that three Air Force personnel will be finalised for ISRO’s space mission for which he had sanctioned Rs 10,000 crore. Nikhil qualified the first level of selection process for the project.”
Whereas, Nikhil’s mother Kusum rath said that,
“I am very happy that his hard work paid off. He will definitely qualify and will be selected in next level for the space project.”
Nikhil completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Balangir in 1998 and did his Intermediate from Delhi Public School in 2000. After clearing the entrance examination, he joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) as a cadet. Afterwards, he joined the Indian Air Force in 2003.