In 1982, he was chosen to train for spaceflight in the Soviet Union's Intercosmos program. Malhotra served as backup for Rakesh Sharma on the Soyuz T-11 mission which launched the first Indian citizen into space, but unfortunately himself never went to space. Malhotra was awarded the Kirti Chakra in 1984.
Background* Air Cmdr. Malhotra joined the Indian Air Force and has a distinguished career in the Indian Air Force for over 30 years. He served as a member of the Indo-Soviet Space Mission in 1984 as part of the back up team and spent 2 years in Star City outside Moscow. He is also a qualified flying instructor and has been training pilots for the Air Force. He is heading a team of over 150 people who are working on the Su-30 programme as well as some of the indigenous projects like the Pilot less Target Aircraft and the new HAL Jet Trainer. Air Cmdr. Malhotra graduated from the USAF Test Pilots School, Edwards AFB in 1974.