First Indian in space, Rakesh Sharma has a bittersweet take on India’s successful lunar mission

Astronaut Rakesh Sharma, the first and only Indian to reach space, has congratulated Chandrayaan-3, the lunar mission of the country, for successfully landing on the Moon on August 23.

Astronaut Rakesh Sharma, the first and only Indian to reach Space, has congratulated ISRO. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Astronaut Rakesh Sharma

In his first reaction to India's success, Sharma said he was sure that the country would make it this time and with it "the remarkable era of space exploration programme begins".

Speaking to National Geographic, Sharma said, "I am not surprised, because I knew deep inside that ISRO will make it this time. I am already a proud Indian and I have become a prouder Indian now."

"I knew ISRO would iron out all the challenges faced by Chandrayaan-2 and would make this mission a success," he said, adding, "I think I was born a little early because I’m already 75 and the remarkable era of space exploration programs begins now but as an Indian, I join my hands and congratulate ISRO for the great success."

In a game-changing feat in India's space exploration, the country's lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, successfully soft-landed on the South Polar region of the moon on August 23.

This enabled the 1.4 billion-strong country to celebrate the success and take pride in the achievement.

On Friday, the Indian Space Research Organisation shared the first visuals of the rover rolling down onto the Moon's surface as it exited the lander.

After the US, China and Russia, India achieved a significant milestone by becoming the fourth country to achieve a successful Moon landing.

The mission was launched on July 14 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre situated in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.