India's first cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, was given a hero's welcome when he arrived back in New Delhi on May 5.
SVs Indian Air Force chief Dilbagh Singh and relatives greeting Indian and Soviet cosmonauts at airport. (2 SHOTS)
GV Cosmonauts waving and posing for photographs.
SVs Girls in traditional Indian dress greet the cosmonauts. (3 SHOTS)
SV Squadron leader Rakesh Sharma India's first cosmonaut, seated in car with his mother.
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Background: India's first cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, was given a hero's welcome when he arrived back in New Delhi on May 5. With him as he stepped off the plane from Moscow were his Soviet colleagues on the April 3 launch, Yuri Malyshev and Gennady Strekalov. There too was the standby crew, which also included another Indian cosmonaut, Ravish Malhotra. Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal Dilbagh Singh greeted the cosmonauts as relatives and Press photographers surrounded them. Last month's joint Indian-Soviet mission received wide media coverage - a departure from the Soviets' usual low-key approach to their space flights. The crew, aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, rendezvoused with the Salyut-7 orbiting space station and Sharma taught his colleagues yoga and took fresh mangoes to the men already on board. The yoga exercises were aimed at preventing the muscular atrophy and nausea which often affect men in weightless conditions. Some experiments carried out by the joint mission were aimed at bringing direct practical benefits to India, such as helping in the search for natural resources. India hopes to launch its own satellite by 1990. The cosmonauts were later due to go on a ten-day triumphal tour of India.