A lot has been made lately of just who is getting to head to space. It seems a new group of billionaires is going every month. But while they may briefly visit the edge of the final frontier, our nation's astronauts get to stay a whole lot longer. This week, an Eastern Iowa native will join the crew on the International Space Station.

Raja Chari is a native of Cedar Falls and will be one of three astronauts to blast off this week for the International Space Station, according to KWWL. The crew of three Americans and one European will replace four astronauts who have been orbiting the earth since April. Space X and NASA had hoped to launch the flight on Halloween but had to postpone the launch due to a storm system moving through the area. Now, NASA hopes to launch Chari and his crew into space on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. Iowa time.

As you might imagine, the city of Cedar Falls is proud of its own. Chari is the mission commander for the mission. KWWL reports that the city is hosting a watch party for the launch on Wednesday. You can watch in person at the Cedar Falls Public Safety building or on Zoom.


Chari was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but was raised in Cedar Falls, according to KWWL. His mother Peggy also still lives in Iowa. Chari graduated from MIT and became a test pilot for the United States Air Force before joining NASA and becoming one of their latest astronauts.


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