Remembering the first Indian woman in space- Kalpana Chawla on her 13th death anniversary!Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-American astronaut and first Indian woman in space was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.She was a girl who had
Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-American astronaut and first Indian woman in space was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.
She was a girl who had always dreamt of the moon and the stars. Not only did she achieve her dreams but she also led her life with the highest sense of values and purpose in every respect.
As we remember Kalpana on her 13th death anniversary , we bring to you 13 important facts from her life journey that continue to inspire millions of women across the world.
1) Kalpana Chawla was born on July 1, 1961, in Karnal, India. She belonged to an average middle class family. Being raised in a society where boys are favoured and girls expected to be obedient and docile, Kalpana decided to beat the odds and follow her dreams with the support of her mother.
2) Monto was the name given to Kalpana by her parents but she chose her own name Kalpana. The name Kalpana means "idea" or "imagination."Although Monto beacame her nick name.
3) She got married to Jean-Pierre Harrison in 1983, who was a flying instructor and an aviation author.
4) Chawla obtained a degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College before immigrating to the United States and becoming a naturalized citizen in the 1980s. She did her masters from the University of Texas.And then completed her PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988.
5) She began working at NASA's Ames Research Centre the same year. While working on power-lift computational fluid dynamics Kalpana got the position of Vice President of Overset Methods, Inc at NASA Research Centre. After being the vice president at NASA, she was assigned to make Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing concepts.
6) She was also certified with a commercial pilot license for the seaplanes, multi engine air place and glider. She become a Certificated Flight Instructor for glider and airplanes.
7) Kalpana first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997, as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
8) For her excellent services, she achieved many awards such as Congressional Space Medal of Honor NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
9) In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second voyage into space, serving again as a mission specialist on STS-107.
10) The mission was delayed several times, and finally launched in 2003. Over the course of the 16-day flight, the crew completed more than 80 experiments.
11) On February 1, 2003, along with 7 crew members, she died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which happened when the Space Shuttle disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
12) Over the course of her two missions, a great pioneer logged 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space. Kalpana after her first launch said, “When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”
13) Besides Kalpana Chawla , other astronauts who were killed in the disaster were Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark and Rick D. Husband.