Social media was full of wishes for Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel to space, as he turned 73 on January 13. Many even called him the first Indian astronaut to walk on the moon.
One such tweet in Hindi translates to, “Tribute to Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut to step on the moon, on his birthday.”
However, the post is misleading as no astronaut from India has landed on the moon till now.
Sharma though was the first Indian to travel to space. In 1984, he, along with two Russian cosmonauts, spent a week in space laboratory Salyut-7.
On April 3, 1984, Sharma flew onboard Soyuz T-11 with two Soviet cosmonauts, Commander Yury Malyshev and flight engineer Gennady Strekalov, to the space station Salyut-7.
During the mission, he carried out several experiments in zero gravity. “I had orbited the Earth and our scientists had carried out several experiments using our equipment. In that sense, it was an opportunity well utilized,” Sharma added.
The mission lasted eight days, and Sharma and his crewmates landed in Kazakhstan on April 11.