Indian-origin Canadian entrepreneur selected for astronaut training course


An Indian-origin Canadian space entrepreneur is on the way to becoming an astronaut, joining the leagues of Indian American legends Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla to fly into space.

Aathira Preetharani, a 24-year-old from Ontario, Canada is originally from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the south Indian state of Kerala, and has been selected for an astronaut training programme at the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) in the US. “Though I am based in Canada, I applied for the astronaut training programme as an Indian citizen. So I will be training as an Indian national there, with the tricolour on my training suit,” she told The New Indian Express.

In her own words, “I came to Canada when I was 19 years old. I am 22 now, half way across the globe from my family. Every day seems small but looking back, the last three years changed a lot. I graduated in the honour list from a business program, was awarded the McIntyre Award for leadership and community engagement in Canada, participated in the United Nations Association in Canada, took my first flight lesson, built the skeleton for a space company that focuses on using affordable, reusable tech to tackle space debris, started working for a government organization in Canada and made life long friends with some amazing mentors. The courage to put myself out there in a new country came from just the deep desire that couldn’t contain itself to reach space and to create meaningful differences in the world.”

Aathira’s training will take place at Florida Tech, a private university at Melbourne, FLA.