Rakesh Sharma, a cosmonaut, was born in Patiala
on 13th January, 1949. He launched his career as a test pilot in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. But later he was appointed as an astronaut in 1982. In 1984, Sharma flew aboard Russian rocket Soyuz T-11 and became the first Indian to go into space. He spent 8 days in the space along with two other Soviet cosmonauts, Malyshev and Strekalov. They conducted over 43 experimental sessions comprising scientific and technical studies during the flight. For successful completion of the space mission, Sharma was awarded the Ashoka Chakra.