Wg Cdr Rakesh Sharma was born on 13 Jan 1949 at Patiala Punjab, and was schooled at St. George’s Grammar School, Abid Road Hyderabad. He was commissioned into the Indian Air Force as a Pilot Officer in 1970. Wg Cdr Rakesh Sharma, then a Squadron Leader embarked on a historic mission in 1984 as part of a joint space program between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Soviet Intercosmos space program. He spent eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station. Launched along with two Soviet Cosmonauts aboard Soyuz T-11 on 03 Apr 1984 was 35 year old Rakesh Sharma. He was conferred with the honour of ‘Hero of Soviet Union’ upon his return from space. The Government of India conferred on him its highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra.