Pilot Gopi Thotakura becomes first Indian space tourist to fly with Blue Origin: 'Dream can come alive'


Gopi Thotakura is all set to become the first Indian “tourist” to fly to the “lower earth orbit in the near future”. He is among the six-person crew flying on Blue Origin’s New Shepard’s 25th Mission (or NS-25 mission). His name was released by Blue Origin on X on April 4. He has been selected as a tourist to go to space on board a Blue Origin rocket.

Speaking with news agency ANI, Thotakura spoke about his “original dream” of becoming an astronaut. He also spoke about the struggle of becoming an astronaut in the United States (US).

ALSO READ: Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to launch rocket Big Shepard for the first time since accident

” …I was always very keen to become an astronaut…after my flying in India and abroad, I started looking for opportunities where the original dream can come alive. That is when I got the opportunity with Blue…NH24 is scheduled and we will be going to lower earth orbit in the near future,” he said.

Thotakura also spoke about his career in aviation. He said, “…before aviation…I was very keen to become an astronaut…In the US, you have to be a US citizen, you have to go to the US Air Force, you have to go to he NASA. That’s where the dream thins out a little bit and you lose sight of it. But I never did.

Speaking about the moto of Blue Origin, Thotakura said, “…Blue Origin’s tagline is ‘for the benefit of earth’ and that is what is important to notice here…to protect mother earth, they’re seeking for life and adventure outside the planet…all the efforts that are put in, is to explore the space beyond. That’s how we can protect mother earth and this is my interpretation of Blue’s mission.”

Blue Origin’s New Shepard’s 25th Mission

New Shepard is 100 percent reusable and fully autonomous. The booster and capsule are designed to launch more than 25 times, Blue Orgin said.

The agency explains that during the 11-minute flight, “you’ll travel over 3X the speed of sound to pass the Kármán Line at 100 km (62 mi), float weightless for several minutes, and witness life-changing views of Earth before descending gently under parachutes.” 

As on April 4, the program has flown 31 humans above the Kármán line. The Blue Origin says, “This is where your dreams of reaching space will become a reality.” The flight date of the 25th mission is yet to be announced.

Who is Gopi Thotakura?

As per Blue Origin, Gopi Thotakura is a pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

Thotakura is als a co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

“In addition to flying jets commercially, Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes, as well as gliders and hot air balloons, and has served as an international medical jet pilot. A lifelong traveler, his most recent adventure took him to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro,” Blue Origin said while sharing his profile.


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Published: 12 Apr 2024, 08:06 PM IST

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