Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari has received US President Joe Biden’s nomination for promotion to the rank of Air Force brigadier general. The Senate, which approves all important civilian and military appointments, must ratify the nominee before it can be made official, claims the US Defense department.
“Air Force Col. Raja J Chari for appointment to the grade of brigadier general. Chari is currently serving as the Crew-3 commander and astronaut, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center, Texas, “according to a US Defense Department release.
Previously, Chari was one of the four astronauts aboard the SpaceX rocket that successfully docked with the orbiting lab in May of the previous year.
Thanks @SenBillNelson it’s my honor to be able to work @nasa Where else can you work on a future lunar lander and #orion capsule all in the same day. Ready to help @NASAArtemis get us back to the moon to stay https://t.co/1Lpz1tJC8X
— Raja Chari (@Astro_Raja) January 28, 2023
Chari was in charge of the Crew Dragon and Crew-3 missions. He was responsible for the entire operation, from takeoff to landing.
During Expedition 66, he also performed flight engineering duties on the space station. This trip marked the end of Chari’s first space flight after being selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2017.
He still regards Cedar Falls, Iowa as his hometown despite having been born in Milwaukee. He is a colonel in the US Air Force and brings to the expedition a plethora of experience as a test pilot. He has flown more than 2,500 hours in total throughout his career.
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado awarded him a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, awarded him a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics.
He graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland, and the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.