An Indian-American astronaut is part of NASA-SpaceX's third mission to the International Space Station.

"NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket to the space station," the US space agency said in a statement.

The four astronauts will lift off to space on October 30 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the statement added.

Raja Chari
Indian American astronaut Raja Chari part of SpaceX Crew 3 mission. Credits: NASAIANS

Crew-3 is the SpaceX's fifth crewed flight to space and fourth to the International Space Station. Indian-American Chari will serve as the commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-3 mission. He also will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station.

Born in Milwaukee, he became a NASA astronaut in 2017 and this will be his first spaceflight. Raja Chari is also a colonel in the US Air Force and has extensive experience as a test pilot with more than 2,500 hours of flight time.

Who's Raja Chari? 10 Things to Know

1. Chari was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1978, and raised in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

2. He is currently a Colonel in the US Air Force.

3. Chari graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1999 with a Bachelor's degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science.

4. He went on to earn a Master's degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

5. NASA has said about Chari: "At the time of his selection in June 2017 [as astronaut candidate], Chari was a Colonel select in the US Air Force, serving as the Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force."

6. Chari has more than 2,000 hours of flight time in F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s, including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployments in support of the Korean peninsula.

7. The USAF pilot has several feathers in his cap. He has been awarded the Defence Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, a Korean Defence Service Medal and the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal.

8. Chari has also been named "distinguished graduate" from the US Air Force Academy, Undergraduate Pilot Training, and the F-15E Formal Training Unit.

9. Chari, who is 42 years old, has the nickname "Grinder."

10. Chari is married to Holly Schaffter Chari and has three children with her.

The Crew-3 mission follows Inspiration4, an all-civilian crewed mission that lifted off on September 15 for an orbital journey aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

With Crew-3, "the four crew going up are going to be doing even more science," reported Kathy Leuders, associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA as saying.

Leuders added that the crew will be continuing to test "our exploration risks and pushing the bounds of technology and continuing to establish our key international partner relationships."

Raja Chari
In picture: Indian-American Raja Chari, who has been chosen by NASA as one of its 12 new astronaut candidates.NASA official website

This expedition "will have experiments that crossover from science and utilisation that we do as well as technology development", added Joel Montalbano, the manager of NASA's ISS programme.

He specified that there will be experiments on board that include human research as well as rodent research and other experimentation similar to what's been done previously on the station.

But, while the astronauts launching will spend the vast majority of their six-month station stay working hard, they will have a bit of room for some festive fun. The crew will be arriving just in time for Halloween and will also be living in the lab during the winter holidays,the report said.

(With inputs from IANS)