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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Various noted personalities on Saturday congratulated Odisha-born IAF Wing Commander Nikhil Rath after he along with his other co-pilots completed the first phase training for the country's first manned mission 'Gaganyaan'.

Rath, who hails from Bolangir, is among the four selected for Indian Space Research Organisations first manned mission to space.

'Gaganyaan' mission is billed for 2022 and Rath, a resident of Bolangir, is among the four selected astronauts from India who have completed their training at Gagarin Cosmounaut Training Centre in Russia on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing.

Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union PNG Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP VP Jay Panda and Pratap Sarangi were among several others who heaped praises on the Odia youth for coming out successful in the primary stage of their preparations for the ambitious Rs 10000 crore space mission of the ISRO.

The governor said he was extremely delighted to know that Rath has been shortlisted for the ambitious first human mission to space of ISRO.

Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in hospital isolation after testing positive for coronavirus in his twitter post wrote, "Elated to learn that Wg. Cdr. Nikhil Rath of @IAF_MCC has been shortlisted to be part of the 4 member crew of Indias first manned space mission, Gaganyaan 2022."

Wishing success and good health for the entire Gaganyaan team, Pradhan wrote, "It is a matter of immense pride that this son of Odisha will be a part of this significant & prestigious mission."

Happy to know that @IAF_MCC Wing Commander Nikhil Rath of Balangir, Odisha has been shortlisted to be part of the human mission to space in the prestigious #Gaganyaan project of @isro. Heartiest congratulations to the ace pilot from the state for getting this opportunity, Sarangi, the union minister of state for MSME said in his twitter post.

BJP National VP Baijayant Jay Panda also congratulated Nikhil Rath in his Tweet.

According to statement by Russian Space Corporation, Roscosmos, Nikhil along with his co-pilots have completed training on crew actions in all weather and all terrain modules. 'They were trained on landing on wooded and marshy areas in winter (February), on the water surface (June) and in the steppe in summer (July) in complete adherence to the Covid safety protocols.'

'The program for Indian cosmonauts also includes training in a centrifuge and in a hyperbaric chamber to prepare their organisms for sustaining spaceflight factors, such as G-force, hypoxia and pressure drops. These trainings are to be held in the near future. All of the Indian cosmonauts are in good health and are determined to continue their training,' the statement added.

Nikhil is first Odia pilot to become a part of the space mission. If everything goes as per schedule, astronauts to go to space for a seven-day mission. A resident of Sudapada in Balangir town, he had joined the IAF in 2004. Currently he is a wing Commander at the Chandigarh airbase.

If the space project succeeds India will be the fourth nation to send astronauts to space after the United States, Russia and China.

(With PTI Inputs)

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