Madurai

Aspiring astronaut gives wings to their dreams

D. Udhaya Keerthika, delivering a talk to school students at a programme organised by Theni Collector M. Pallavi Baldev on Monday.  

D. Udhaya Keerthika, belonging to Allinagaram Theni has been selected for astronaut training in Poland. The 21-year-old gave a pep talk to students from Government and Government-aided schools, at a programme arranged by District Collector M. Pallavi Baldev, here, on Monday.

She spoke on various career options and how to reach their ambitions. “Students from rural pockets should not think that poverty and studying in Tamil medium are drawbacks. Instead, they should equip themselves to face challenges in life,” she said.

Udhaya Keerthika, daughter of a board painter, had won two awards from ISRO as a 10th grade student in 2012, following which she was invited to the ISRO propulsion complex, Mahendragiri. “That is where I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. I was thrilled to see how rockets are built. After that, I tried getting into IIT but I could not get a seat there. Hence, I researched and applied for a course in aircraft engineering in Kharkiv National Aerospace University in Ukraine,” said Udhaya Keerthika, who has successfully completed her graduation.

She has now been selected for a astronaut training course in Analog Astronaut Training Centre in Poland. “I am the only one from India selected for the training. So far, my education was funded by generous people of Tamil diaspora from across the globe. Recently, Theni MP O. P. Raveendranath Kumar gave me an assistance of ₹3 lakh. Actor Vijay Sethupathi came forward and gave me ₹8 lakh,” she said.

“My dream is to be part of ISRO's Gaganyaan mission in 2021,” said Udhaya Keerthika.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 8:58:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/aspiring-astronaut-gives-wings-to-their-dreams/article28263087.ece

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