Who Is Gopi Thotakura, The Indian Expatriate Who Created History As The 1st Indian Space Tourist?

Joining Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin's NS-25 mission, Indian expatriate Gopi Thotakura became the first Indian space tourist.

by Tashika Tyagi
Who Is Gopi Thotakura, The Indian Expatriate Who Created History As The 1st Indian Space Tourist?

India-born Gopi Thotakura made history on May 19 when he became the first Indian space tourist. He was part of the six-person crew for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission. Besides being the first Indian space tourist, he is also the only second Indian to venture into space! Read on to know more about him and his out-of-the-world experience, literally!

Who Is Gopi Thotakura – The Indian Expatriate Who Made History In Space?

On Sunday, Gopi Thotakura made history and became the first Indian space tourist. He ventured into space as part of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s NS-25 mission. Besides Gopi, the astronaut crew included Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight. The space flight took off from the company’s West Texas launch site on May 19. With this flight on Sunday, Blue Origin successfully completed its seventh human spaceflight and the 25th flight for this programme.

Gopi Thotakura was born in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada. He is an entrepreneur and a pilot working in the US. He flies jets commercially, besides piloting bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes. Not just that, he is the co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health.

He received his BSc in aeronautical science from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, US. In fact, he has even worked with medical air evacuation services in the past.

Gopi has, reportedly, retained his Indian passport and became the second Indian astronaut to venture into space. The first was Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, who flew as a professional cosmonaut for the Soviet Interkosmos programme in 1984.

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Flying Around & Waving The Indian Flag

Gopi Thotakura
Image Courtesy: X/blueorigin

Upon its takeoff, the NS-25 vehicle was able to cross the boundary of space smoothly. The rocket and capsule returned to Earth, roughly 15 minutes after the takeoff. Blue Origin took to X (formerly Twitter) to share updates on the entire programme launch. In one of the videos shared, Gopi Thotakura and the rest of the crew could be seen flying around the space flight due to the lack of gravity in space.

The astronauts’ happiness was clearly evident in the video. Gopi Thotakura could be seen happily exclaiming “We’re in space!” while high-fiving his fellow astronauts. He was also carrying a little Indian flag that he showed in the video and said, “India with pride, India to space.”

Now that’s what we call the experience of a lifetime! Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!

Cover Image Courtesy: X/blueorigin

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