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This Indian-origin NASA astronaut is all set to return home from space

Raja Chari is currently serving as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS.

After spending six months in space, Indian-origin astronaut Raja Chari is all set to return home. Raja docked at the International Space Station (ISS) along with three other members who are a part of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission which was launched on November 10, 2021.

The Crew-3 astronauts will return to earth later this month after a successful scientific mission in zero gravity. Raja, along with the other three astronauts, Kayla Barron, Tom Marshburn and European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer will touch down off the coast of Florida by the end of the month on the Dragon spacecraft named Endurance.

Raja, who was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class in August 2017 is currently serving as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS. He is an Iowa native who graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He also holds a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

The Crew-3 mission involved four spacewalks to prepare the station for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits and replacing a faulty antenna on the Port-1 truss structure. They also conducted hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations, and also worked on plant growth experiments, testing new systems for growing crops and studying potentially drought-resistant cotton plants.

“They tested a handheld bioprinter designed to print bandages made from skin cells directly onto a wound, and a miniature scanning electron microscope. Crew members also installed a new device to support studies on fire safety in microgravity and conducted one of the first archaeological experiments in space,” NASA said in a statement.

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