Gopi Thotakura set to become India's first space tourist

News excerpt:

Gopi Thotakura, an entrepreneur and a pilot, is set to become the first Indian to venture into space as a tourist on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 mission.

Gopi Thotakura:

  • Andhra Pradesh-born Thotakura is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
  • With this mission he would become the first Indian space tourist and the second Indian to venture into space after Indian Army's Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma in 1984. 
  • This will be the seventh human flight for the New Shepard programme and the 25th in human history.

New Shepard programme:

  • Named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard (the first American to go to space), New Shepard is  Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line.
    • The Karman line is the internationally recognised boundary separating Earth's atmosphere and outer space.
    • The line is neither sharp nor well-defined but is often taken to encircle Earth at an altitude between 80 to 100 km.
  • The spacecraft has a crew capsule that can hold six people and a booster rocket. 
  • It is fully autonomous, which means that none of the six crew members are involved in manning it.

Club for the Future:

  • Club for the Future programme of Blue Origin gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets, including an all-digital method to create and send postcards.
  • The Club’s mission is to inspire and mobilise future generations to pursue careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) for the benefit of Earth.

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