Indians in Space
In 1984, Rakesh Sharma became India's first citizen in space as a cosmonaut on an 8-day mission to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station. His backup Ravish Malhotra trained for the mission too but never had the privilege of joining the 100 mile club. Nagapathi Bhat would have been the second Indian in space as a Payload Specialist on the STS-61I mission, but it was canceled in the wake of the Challenger disaster. His backup Paramaswaren Nair also never flew. Indians had to wait until 1997 to see their second countryman in space when Kalpana Chawla launched on the Columbia Space Shuttle. She logged over 31 days in space on the STS-87 and STS-107 missions. Tragically, she lost her life in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.