History Made: Gopi Thotakura Is The First Indian Space Tourist

Entrepreneur and pilot Thotakura created history on Sunday as the first Indian to go to space as a tourist aboard Blue Origin's NS-25 mission
Gopi Thotakura
Gopi ThotakuraBlue Origin/X

Entrepreneur and pilot Gopi Thotakura etched his name in history on Sunday as he embarked on a groundbreaking journey into space, becoming the first Indian space tourist aboard Blue Origin's NS-25 mission, led by founder Jeff Bezos.

Thotakura joined a select crew of six for the NS-25 mission, marking a significant milestone as the inaugural Indian space tourist and only the second Indian to venture into space since Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma's iconic journey in 1984.

The NS-25 mission, Blue Origin's seventh human flight, commenced from Launch Site One in West Texas amidst anticipation and excitement. The crew, comprising Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, Gopi Thotakura, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, embarked on a transformative journey.

This milestone marked Blue Origin's 25th flight for the New Shepard program, which has now seen 37 individuals soar into space, including today's esteemed crew. Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President of New Shepard, thanked the astronaut customers for their pioneering spirit in advancing the mission to democratise space exploration.

Gopi Thotakura, a seasoned pilot and co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, demonstrated his passion for aviation and adventure. His diverse flying experiences, ranging from commercial jets to bush planes and hot air balloons, coupled with his global holistic wellness endeavours, showcased his multifaceted talents.

From left: Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel, Carol Schaller, Ed Dwight, Ken Hess, and Sylvain Chiron.
From left: Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel, Carol Schaller, Ed Dwight, Ken Hess, and Sylvain Chiron.blueorigin.com/website

The NS-25 mission propelled the crew past the Kármán line, an area 100 kilometres above Earth's surface widely recognised as the altitude at which outer space begins, signifying entry into outer space and granting passengers moments of weightlessness and breathtaking views of Earth. Each astronaut carried a symbolic postcard on behalf of Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, fostering inspiration for future generations in STEAM disciplines.

Blue Origin's commitment to sustainability was evident, with nearly 99 per cent of New Shepard's components being reusable, minimising environmental impact. Powered by efficient liquid oxygen and hydrogen, the mission left behind only water vapour, aligning with Blue Origin's vision for sustainable space travel.

The NS-25 mission patch is infused with symbolism, honouring the crew's aspirations and achievements. From the Gemini spacecraft representing aerospace history to the sunrise symbolising the desire for the overview effect, each element captures the essence of the journey.

The NS-25 mission heralded a triumphant return for Blue Origin's suborbital tourism programme, which had temporarily paused in 2022 due to a liftoff malfunction. For the future, Blue Origin is setting its sights on establishing collaborations with NASA to fulfil the shared goal of lunar exploration in the coming years.

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