|Raja Jon Vurputoor Chari Rediff
|Grinder Space Facts
|Test Pilot and Astronaut
|Physical Stats & More
|in centimeters- 178 cm
in meters- 1.78 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 10”
|in kilograms- 75 kg
in pounds- 165 lbs
|• Defense Meritorious Service Medal
• Meritorious Service Medal
• Aerial Achievement Medal
• Air Force Commendation Medal
• Air Force Achievement Medal
• Iraq Campaign Medal
• Korean Defense Service Medal
• Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
|Date of Birth
|June 24, 1977 (Friday)
|Age (as of 2022)
|Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Columbus High School, Waterloo, Iowa, U.S. (1995)
|• United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado (1999)
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2001)
|• Bachelor of Science in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science (Minor in Mathematics) at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
• Master of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a Draper Fellow LinkedIn- Raja Chari Wikipedia
• Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma
|Relationships & More
|Holly Schaffter Chari
|He has three children.
|Father- Sreenivas V Chari (worked as an engineer in the U.S.)
Mother- Peggy (American nurse and teacher)
|Brother- Krishna Chari (younger)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Raja Chari
- Raja Chari is an American test pilot and an astronaut at The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His ancestors have their roots in Telangana, India.
- He was brought up in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, Iowa, United States.
- Raja was inclined towards aeroplanes since childhood. In an interview, while remembering his childhood days, he said,
I got it in my head that I really wanted to fly an aircraft… Through high school, my goal was essentially getting in the Air Force Academy. To accomplish that goal of flying. I became more educated about the idea of being a test pilot and that you can do both of those things. I loved being a test pilot. It is everything I thought it would be. I get to live my passions and do what I love doing. Once I became a test pilot that’s the first time it struck me — holy cow — becoming an astronaut is in the realm of the possible. It is actually not something that is just a lofty goal, but something that I can try to achieve. That’s when I started to meet people associated with NASA.”
- During an interview, his mother talked about Raja’s inclination towards aircraft childhood. She said,
When he was about 9 or 10 he took some drapery hooks I wasn’t using and bent them into different shapes… He would take them out to sell to the kids in the neighbourhood telling them they were different types of planes. The other kids always bought them and then they’d all play together.”
- He joined Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Pacific Air Forces in November 2003.
- He attended F-15E Strike Eagle training at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
- He then joined 494FS, RAF Lakenheath, England, UK as F-15E IP in 2006, and in 2007, he did his training at the US Naval Test Pilot School.
- He worked as F-15 Experimental Test Pilot, 40 FTS, Eglin AFB at The United States Air Force (USAF) in December 2008.
- After three years, he joined USAF as SAF/RCO Program Manager, and he was appointed as the Title 461st Flight Test Squadron Commander/F-35 Integrated Test Force Director in June 2015.
- He worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as an astronaut in June 2017.
- After working for two years at NASA, he worked as Joint Test Team Director at Commerical Crew Program in 2019.
- He was designated as the Title SpaceX Crew3 Mission Commander in 2020 and was the only astronaut who was selected from the NASA astronaut group ‘Group 22.’ The mission was started on November 11, 2021, and he was accompanied by other astronauts on the mission including Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn of the United States and Matthias Maurer of Germany.
- He was also selected as one of the astronauts in the group of astronauts named ‘Artemis Team’ for the lunar mission in 2024 in which the first female would land on the lunar surface.
- While talking about his religion in an interview, Raja said, Rediff
From a religious standpoint, I was brought up Catholic. Much to my dad’s credit, it didn’t strike me that I was any different from anyone else. I think they did a great job of saying this is totally normal. When I was growing up, it took a while for me to realise that my father wasn’t Catholic too. He was Hindu. Never practised it. Never baptised in church. He always went with us (to church). We always went as a family… My dad never got rid of his Hindu roots. I didn’t realise, till I was older, that he wasn’t Catholic and that the church we were growing up in, wasn’t the church he grew up in.”
- In an interview, he talked about his wife. He said,
She kept our family going, kept me going and basically the whole squadron and the whole unit and then also was doing her job for the VA day in and day out. She’s an amazing part of my life. Obviously, the best decision I ever made and I was lucky to find her.”