Sky Was the Limit for Indian Born Legend Kalpana Chawla
The name Kalpana Chawla needs no introduction. An Indian-American astronaut, she is the first Indian woman to go on space. She was one among the seven astronauts who lost their lives in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster where the space shuttle collided just before landing on 1st Februaru 2003. Kalpana Chawla is role model to many young women in India and has inspired millions of them to follow their passion and live a life they’ve always dreamt of.
On her birthday tomorrow, here are the six things to know about the legend that Kalpana Chawla is:
Kalpana Studied Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab
Kalpana did her schooling from Karnal and then went on to pursue a course in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. She went to United States in 1892 where she pursued a Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and then a doctorate in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado
She became a naturalized US Citizen in 1991
Kalpana become a naturalized US citizen in 1991. She began working at the NASA Ames Research Center in 1988 and then joined the corps in March 1995.
She is the first Indian-born woman to fly to space
The mission began on November 19, 1997 and her first flight shuttle that included Kalpana along with 5 other astronaut crew was on Space Shuttle Columbia. She was also the second Indian to ever fly in space.
Kalpana’s second flight in 2003, was also her last
Kalpana’s second flight that was a part of the crew of STS-107, was launched in 2003. After completing 16 day in space, the space shuttle disintegrated over Texas while trying to enter into Earth’s atmosphere.
Kalpana was the winner of multiple accolades
She was posthumously honoured with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal,and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
In a country and at a time where women were born to get married, she chose to dream high and fly high (literally). Thanks for inspiring many like me!