Indian American astronaut Raja Chari greets India on Independence Day

Image Courtesy: @Astro_Raja

NASA is just one place Indian Americans make a difference every day, says son of Indian immigrant father

Indian American astronaut Raja Chari greeted India on its 75th Independence Day by posting a photo of the Indian national flag at the International Space Station (ISS) with a message for Indians living abroad. The photo also shows Earth in the background.

Chari recently returned home after a six-month mission at the ISS. He was among the four astronauts aboard a Space X spacecraft which safely splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico last May.

“On Indian Independence eve I’m reminded of Indian diaspora that I could see from @Space_Station where my immigrant father’s home town of Hyderabad shines bright. @nasa is just 1 place Indian Americans make a difference every day. Looking forward to @IndianEmbassyUS celebration,” Chari said in his Twitter.

Read: Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari takes first spacewalk (March 17, 2022)

Noting that NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have a long history of cooperation, Chari said he looks forward to working together with India.

“NASA and ISRO have a long history of cooperation, going back to early days of space age when NASA worked with ISRO on sounding rockets in India. The cooperation continues today as we work on joint space and Earth science missions,” he said. NASA is also sharing communication resources to enable ISRO missions that work on Mars and Moon, Chari added.

“We look forward in the near future to the first human spaceflight mission to be launched by ISRO and to working and cooperating as NASA took to return to Moon as part of Artemis mission,” he said.

His message comes just a day after astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, living and working on the Space Station, sent a message noting that for decades international agencies have worked together with ISRO on many space and science missions.

“The cooperation continues today as ISRO works on the development of the upcoming NISAR Earth Science Mission that will help us track disasters and helps us get a better understanding of our changing climate.”

Chari arrived at the Space Station in November 2021 as part of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission. During his stay in zero gravity, he contributed to several experiments and technology demonstrations.

His team worked on a variety of plant growth experiments, testing new systems for growing crops and studying potentially drought-resistant cotton plants. The crew was also involved in four spacewalks.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He is married to Cedar Falls native Holly Schaffter Chari, with whom he has three children.

According to Chari’s official biography, he graduated from Columbus High School in Waterloo, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical

Engineering from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Read: Independence Day 2022: Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari shares Indian flag photo taken at space station (August 15, 2022)

He was awarded a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Chari’s grandfather, a resident of Mahabubnagar in Telangana, was a mathematics professor at Osmania University, Hyderabad. His father, Sreenivas Chari, who had studied at the same university later came to the US to earn a degree in engineering.

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