×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Meet the crew: The four Gaganyaan astronaut-designates

They are all test pilots with 2,000 hours of flying experience behind them.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 12:31 IST

Bengaluru: Three IAF group captains and a wing commander have been training, for about four years, as astronaut-designates for Gaganyaan, India’s ambitious human spaceflight programme. They are all test pilots with 2,000 hours of flying experience behind them.

Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair

Born in Thiruvazhiyad, Kerala, on August 26, 1976.

NDA alumnus and a recipient of Sword of Honour at the Air Force Academy. He was commissioned on December 19, 1998 in IAF’s fighter stream. A Category A Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot with approximately 3,000 hours of flying experience, Nair has flown Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Hawk, Dornier, An-32, etc. He is also an alumnus of the United States Staff College, the DSSC, Wellington and FIS, Tambaram. He has commanded a premier fighter Su-30 Squadron.

Group Captain Ajit Krishnan

Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on April 19, 1982.

Alumnus of NDA and DSSC, Wellington. Recipient of the President’s Gold Medal and Sword of Honour at the Air Force Academy. Commissioned on June 21, 2003 in the fighter stream of IAF. He is a Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot with about 2,900 hours of flying experience. He has flown a variety of aircraft including Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-21, Mig-29, Jaguar, Dornier, An-32 etc. He is also an alumnus of the DSSC, Wellington.

Group Captain Angad Pratap

Born in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, July 17, 1982.

An NDA alumnus, he was commissioned in the IAF fighter stream on December 18, 2004. He is a Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot who has approximately 2,000 hours of flying experience. Aircraft flown include Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, and An-32.

Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla

Born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on October 10, 1985.

The NDA alumnus was commissioned on June 17, 2006 in the fighter stream of IAF. A Fighter Combat Leader and a Test Pilot with about 2,000 hours of flying experience, Shukla has flown aircraft that include Su-30 MKI, MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar, Hawk, Dornier, and An-32.

ADVERTISEMENT
(Published 27 February 2024, 12:31 IST)

Follow us on

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT