The Birth Anniversary of the First Indian-origin Women in Space - Kalpana Chawla
Kalpana Chawla continues to inspire hundreds of young women to pursue their aspirations and enter the professions of aerospace engineering and space exploration years after her painful death
FREMONT, CA: Kalpana Chawla, India's National Hero, was born in Karnal, Haryana, on March 17, 1962. The first Indian woman to go to space was. She was an Indian-American astronaut who accomplished what most could not even dream about. At Punjab Engineering College, Kalpana Chawla was the first and only woman to pursue Aeronautical Engineering. She traveled to the United States to pursue her Master's degree after completing her Bachelor's degree. Later, Kalpana Chawla travelled to the United States in 1982 to pursue her Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. In 1988, she earned a second Master's degree as well as a PhDPhD in Aerospace Engineering. Later in the same year, she joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center in 1988. Kalpana Chawla did everything to live up to her motto, "follow your dreams."
As a kid, Chawla was always enthralled by aviation, and she used to visit loal flying clubs with her father frequently. In 1997, she made her first trip to space as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. STS-107, Columbia's second trip, was the space shuttle's final flight in 2003. Chawla was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy on February 1, 2003, when the spacecraft exploded as it re-entered the atmosphere. She received numerous awards posthumously and is considered a national hero in India. Jean Pierre Harrison was Kalpana Chawla’s husband, and the couple was married for 20 years before death.
NASA named seven hills on Mars in 2004 in honour of the seven astronauts who died in the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy. Years after Chawla's death, the agency named a commercial cargo spaceship after her. Chawla continues to inspire hundreds of young women to pursue their aspirations and enter the professions of aerospace engineering and space exploration years after her painful death.