I Feel Sorry That I’m The Only Indian To Have Been To Space And That Too 33 Years Ago: Rakesh Sharma
NAIROBI: India’s sole astronaut to have landed in space, Rakesh Sharma was at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi. Sharma spoke about his days in the outer world. Rakesh is a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew aboard Soyuz T-11, launched April 2 1984, as part of the Intercosmos program.
Q Are you satisfied with the way India has gone about in the space race?
Well India was never part of the space race. This is the reason it has reached so far. I believe that is the better way to go about it. We should do our own thing, up to now we have done all the right things. We are in a mode of survival today.
Q Do you regret that India has not been able to send its own astronaut to space in its own mission?
Sending people up in space without having a manned space programme is like getting your horse ready much before the cart is there. It all depends upon us. What do we want to do? How do we want to do it? Do we need to do it alone? Should we collaborate with others? If we want to send a manned space mission then we will need to collaborate with other countries. The earlier we start the better off we’ll be.
Q Some people say that India should cut its space budget. What do you have to say?
It all depends upon what’s your intent. If your intent is to explore as we have done or the Indian way of solving problems in the space technology.
Q What do you want India to achieve in space now?
I would like it to be a voice which shapes an inclusive policy for humans. We are at a threshold where we starting space exploration. We are going to populating the moon first and then Mars. I wish we don’t do it by ourselves and alone because it will be resource intensive. I don’t think so that it is the best way to utilise our resources given our other needs and compulsion. We are respected in the space community and we can carry our weight for future missions. I’m proud that India’s space programme has achieved so much in such a short span of time.
Q Do you feel that India’s space mission has become political?
I don’t think so.
Q Any memory that you can share with us of your space mission?
I feel sorry that I’m the only Indian to have been to space and that too 33 years ago. There hasn’t been any other Indian, I feel lonely in that sense. I also feel bad that my other two companions on the trip are no more. It was of course, a life changing moment for me. The space journey has impacted me in a great way.