Bhubaneswar: Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi Saturday congratulated Odisha-born Indian Air Force Wing Commander Nikhil Rath for his selection by ISRO for the country's first manned mission ''Gaganyaan''.

Rath, who hails from Bolangir, is among the four selected for Indian Space Research Organisations first manned mission to space.

''Gaganyaan'' mission is billed for 2022 and Rath along with three other astronauts from India have completed their training at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia on crew actions in the event of an abnormal descent module landing.

The governor said he was extremely delighted to know that Rath has been shortlisted for the ambitious first human mission to space of ISRO.

I wish him success in the upcoming one year training in Russia, Lal said.

Pradhan, who is in hospital isolation after testing positive for coronavirus in his twitter post wrote Elated to learn that Wg. Cdr. Nikhil Rath of @IAF_MCC has been shortlisted to be part of the 4 member crew of India's first manned space mission, Gaganyaan 2022.

"It is a matter of immense pride that this son of Odisha will be a part of this significant & prestigious mission," he wrote.

Pradhan also wished success and good health for the entire Gaganyaan team.

Happy to know that @IAF_MCC Wing Commander Nikhil Rath of Balangir, Odisha has been shortlisted to be part of the human mission to space in the prestigious #Gaganyaan project of @isro. Heartiest congratulations to the ace pilot from the state for getting this opportunity, Sarangi, the union minister of state for MSME said in his twitter post.

Sarangi said, "Pretty sure that he (Rath) would hone his skills during the one year rigorous training in Russia. Wishing him all the best for the final selection!.

Nikhil will fly up 300 to 400 km into space during the seven-day mission.

A resident of Sudapada in Balangir town, he had joined the IAF in 2004. Currently he is a wing Commander at the Chandigarh airbase and will be the first Odia to be part of the space mission.

If the Rs 10,000 crore space project succeeds India will be the fourth nation to send astronauts to space after the United States, Russia and China.