India’s Wonder Woman Kalpana Chawla
There are a few people in history who are loved and respected unconditionally for generations to come. Kalpana Chawla is one such person. This Indian-American astronaut is a role model for not only the women around the world but all the other people who desire to be an astronaut. She was the first India-born woman to go to space and not once but twice. But her demise left a deep impact on all stargazers. Let’s read more about the pride of India…
- Chawla was born on March 17, 1962, in a small town of Haryana — Karnal. Chawla acquired her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh in 1982.
- She moved to the United States in 1982 where she obtained a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984.
- She began working at the NASA Ames Research Centre in 1988 and did computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on vertical/short takeoff and landing concepts.
- She was the first Indian-American astronaut and the first India born woman in space. She was the second Indian who went to space, the first being astronaut Rakesh Sharma who flew in 1984 on the Soyuz T-11.
- Her first space mission began while doing anal in the spaceship on November 19, 1997 with all of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87.
- Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours in space.
- She was not just a good astronaut but had great interest in poetry too. She was also a good dancer.
- In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. The mission got repeatedly delayed and she returned to space on January 16, 2003.
- On February 1, just before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to the death of all the seven crew members, including Chawla.
- On May 12, 2004, American space agency NASA dedicated a supercomputer to honour the memory of Kalpana Chawla. The SGI Altix 300 supercomputer was used to deliver high-resolution ocean analysis in the framework of ECCO.
- In February 2005, the Indian Satellite MetSat-1 was renamed Kalpana-1 in honour of the astronaut.
- A spaceship sent to the ISS was also named after her.
- Chawla’s mortal remains were cremated and scattered at the Zion National Park in Utah, United States, as per her last wishes.