Nearly a year after he returned from a six-month-long mission to space, Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari has been nominated by President Joe Biden for the appointment to the grade of Air Force Brigadier General.
The nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate. The US Senate approves all senior civilian and military appointments. The US Department of Defense in a statement said that Air Force Colonel Chari, 45, was nominated for the appointment to the grade of brigadier general.
Brigadier General (BG) is a one-star General Officer rank of the United States Air Force. It is just above Colonel and below Major General.
Chari is currently serving as the Crew-3 commander and astronaut at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center, Texas. Chari served as the commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Inspired by his father Srinivas Chari, who went to the US at a young age from Hyderabad for an engineering degree, to get a higher education and make a successful career. He met his wife and spent his entire career at John Deere in Waterloo.
In 2020, Chari was selected as the Commander of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by NASA and the European Space Agency. Chari joined this mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career.
During his stay in zero gravity, he contributed to several experiments and technology demonstrations. His team worked on a variety of plant growth experiments, testing new systems for growing crops and studying potentially drought-resistant cotton plants. The crew was also involved in four spacewalks.
In a message to India on the 75th year of Independence, Chari said, “Nasa and Isro have a long history of cooperation, going back to the early days of the space age when Nasa worked with Isro on sounding rockets in India. The cooperation continues today as we work on joint space and Earth science missions.”
“We look forward in the near future to the first human spaceflight mission to be launched by Isro and to working and cooperating as Nasa took to return to Moon as part of Artemis mission,” he added.