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Santhosh George Kulangara

Santhosh George Kulangara, (born December 25, 1971) is the first Indian space tourist and has been confirmed along with 37 others for space-tour operator Virgin Galactic’s 2009 spaceflight.

Background

Santhosh George Kulangara was born in Marangattupally village, Kottayam District in Kerala, India. He is a post graduate and a trained cinematographer. He is married to Soncy and has two children - Sarika and George. He is the son of V.J. George Kulangara, the founder of Labour India Publications Ltd.

He is also a businessman in the area of education, tourism and Information Technology. He is the owner and Managing Director of Labour India groups of companies, co-founder of Labour India Gurukulam Public School, International Gurukulam School in Wagamon and Bluefield International Academy, West Virginia in the US. He is the Chairman and Managing Director of Supplement Communications, an evening newspaper, and Labour India Software Laboratories.

He has traveled through more than 55 countries and his travelogue Sancharam is currently being telecast in Asianet channel on Sundays at 10:30 am. It is the first telecast of a visual travelogue in Malayalam television to enter the Limca Book of Records . The show will eventually include his visit to space as the Virgin Galactic officials have agreed to let him shoot the whole journey. He is the producer of the Malayalam television-programs Samayam, Acharya (a documentary about Wagamon), Maluvinte Lokam, Chithirapurathe Visheshangal, and Kerala Vishesham which were produced for Doordarshan. He also directed the documentary Krishnagatha.

He has published two books on his travels and two more are in the processing stage. The published books are Oru Rabbiyude Chumbanangal (Kisses of a rabbi), which talks about his extensive journeys on buses and ships through Eastern Europe, and Nataashayude Varna Baloonukal, which is about interesting sights and memorable experiences of his travels through Europe. He is also writing a book about his upcoming space voyage.

Space flight

He is the first resident Indian to buy a US$ 200,000 ticket for a sub-orbital ride with British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceliner. The space flight is designed to last two and a half hours in space, during which the spaceship will detach from the mother ship at , the cruising altitude of the Concorde aircraft. To prepare for the trip he successfully completed medical tests, zero gravity training at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and three-day pre-flight preparation, bonding and training at the Mojave desert spaceport in California. A specially designed aircraft was used for the training program. In January 2008, Virgin Galactic unveiled a model of SpaceShipTwo, for carrying tourists into space and said that construction of the actual flight should be completed in 2008 and is expected to take-off in 2009. In July 2008, he completed the second part of training for space tourists at NASA. He took part in the training at the National Aerospace Training and Research centre at Southampton in Pennsylvania. He also attended the launch ceremony of the space vehicle White Knight Two at Mojave spaceport in California.

Awards

He won the 2002 Kamal Patra award for young businessmen. He was also awarded Yuva Prathiba Award (2004), All India RAPA Award (2003) and Vivekananda award for his contributions to the tourism and education sector. He met with former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who gave him a few tips for his journey. Santhosh George was advised by President to ensure that he make the experiences of his trip informative to children.

References

External Links

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