NASA has chosen to enrol a Kerala native, Athira Preetha Rani, for a space training programme
Thiruvananthapuram native Athira Preetha Rani has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their astronaut training programme. In association with Canada’s space agency, NASA offers the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences astronaut training programme. The invitations are open worldwide so that individuals can apply for the course and avail training accordingly. Finally, after years of hard work, determination, and devotion she is now on her way to achieving her lifelong dream.
Since her childhood, Athira has had a keen interest in space and astronauts. Thus, to acquire more knowledge, she began attending the classes of “Astra’s”, an astronomical society in Kerala’s capital city. Later, she studied at Algonquin College in Ottawa after she secured a scholarship to study robotics. Furthermore, she is said to possess a license to fly an aircraft and is a pilot by qualification too.
If she completes her training, Athira is set to become the third Indian-origin female astronaut to embark on a journey to space after Kalpana Chawala and Sunita Williams. Moreover, she will become the first-ever Keralite astronaut too. The training period will last for 3-5 years. Twelve trainees from various parts of the world have also been selected along with Athira.
Athira runs a start-up in Canada called Exo Geo Aerospace company and oversees the entity with her husband, Gokul. According to reports, “Rani was always keen on pursuing celestial insights and knowledge, which was coupled with her attendance at astronomy-related clubs in and around Kerala.”