Kalpana Chawla – First Indian Woman Astronaut
About Kalpana Chawla
The date of 1st February 2017 marks the 14th death anniversary of popular female astronaut Kalpana Chawla. She was the first-ever India-born female who went into space and became one of the most prominent names in astronomy.
She was born on the 17th of March, in the year 1962 in the town of Karnal in the northern state of Haryana in India. Coming to her education, she completed her engineering earning a Bachelor of Engineering degree specializing in Aeronautical engineering from the Punjab Engineering College situated in the beautiful city of Chandigarh in the year 1982, and the same year in order to pursue higher education, she moved to the United States of America.
After moving there, she earned another feather for her cap, completing her master’s degree (Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering) in the year 1984 from the University of Texas at Arlington, USA.
After that, it was four years later in 1988 that Kalpana Chawla began working for NASA Ames Research Center, wherein she worked and researched on concepts of vertical/short takeoffs, computational fluid dynamics, etc.
Finally, in the year 1997, she made her first fly as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87 and became the first-ever Indian-American astronaut who was an Indian born woman to have traveled to space.
With her first mission, she travelled more than 10.4 million miles ranging over 252 orbits of planet Earth, spread over a time range of around 372 hours in the space and soon after in the year 2000, she was successfully selected to be a part of the crew of the STS-107 space shuttle, marking it as her second flight.
However, this mission went on getting constantly deferred and when it finally did happen in the year 2003, tragedy struck everyone as the mission failed miserably during its conclusion of the 28th mission with the space shuttle disintegrating over Texas as it went on the verge of re-entering the atmosphere of planet Earth and this instantaneously caused the tragic death of all seven crew members on board the shuttle, including Kalpana Chawla, on the 1st of February, 2003.