NASA had received a staggering 18,000 + applications for just 12 astronaut candidates, something that shows the immense interest among people for becoming astronauts and space travel. Now, the list of the 12 finalized astronaut candidates has been released by NASA and one among them is Indian-American Raja Chari. Chari currently works with the US Air Force, as a Lieutenant Colonel. If Chari successfully completes his astronaut training, he will be the third person of Indian origin to travel to space. The two other NASA astronauts of Indian origin include the late Kalpana Chawla and the current working astronaut Sunita Williams. The 12 people chosen by NASA as astronaut candidates include seven men and five women.
All the 12 candidates will be provided extensive training for Earth-orbit missions as well as deep space missions such as travel to Mars. The training will be given to the astronaut candidates at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Raja Chari had graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1999. He has a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He had later also acquired a Master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School as well as from US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.