India's only cosmonaut flies in Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet in Bangalore

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Bangalore, Feb 14 (ANI): India's only cosmonaut, Wing Commander (retired) Rakesh Sharma flew in the Boeing-made FA-18 Super Hornet at Aero India 2009 in Bangalore on Friday.

Dressed in the pilot overhauls, Sharma (60) almost logged one-hour sortie as a part of the promotional flight programme by Boeing.

Incidentally, Boeing has bid for the Indian Air Force (IAF) medium multi-role combat aircraft deal.

After the flight, Sharma said that he enjoyed every moment of being in the flying suit and the zero gravity situation inside a cockpit.

"It has been extremely exciting and it's really nice to get back to the life that I once knew. It's good to smell oxygen mask again. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity, which I got once again," he added.

Sharma as a Squadron Leader in 1984 had embarked on the space journey to become the first ever Indian spaceman as part of a joint programme between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Soviet Inter-Cosmos space programme.

He spent eight days in space on board the Salyut 7 space station. He joined two other Soviet cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz T-11 spacecraft, which had blastedoff on April 2, 1984.

An ace test pilot, he retired as a Wing Commander from the IAF in 2001. (ANI)

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