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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bolangir: In what could be considered as a matter of pride and honour for Odisha, a Bolangir resident working with Indian Air Force has been shortlisted for the much awaited Gaganyaan project of ISRO.

As per reports, Wing Commander Nikhil Rath, has been included in the preliminary list of astronauts to undertake training for ISRO's first manned mission to the space slated to be launched in 2022. The Indian space agency will be sending three astronauts to the space and all of them will undergo training in Russia before setting off on the journey. As per reports, the three astronauts, who will be picked from among the test pilots in the armed forces, will be flying up to an altitude of 300 to 400 kilometres into the space for a seven-day mission.

Nikhil's parents are hopeful of him getting into the final list.

"I am happy that my son is going to Russia to undertake astronaut training. He is a hard working boy, so I am quite certain that he will do well in the training and get selected to go to space," said Kusum, mother of Nikhil.

"It's a great achievement for Bolangir as well as for Odisha," added Kusum.

India will be the fourth nation in world to send astronauts into space after United States, Russia and China. The reported budget of ISRO's Gaganyaan project is around a whopping Rs 10,000 crore.

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