Today is the death anniversary of the first Indian-Born woman astronaut Kalpana Chawla. In the year 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 was re-entering Earth's atmosphere, the space shuttle burnt and disintegrated killing all the crew members on board.
Her early ducation in Punjab
Kalpana Chawla graduated from Tagore School, Karnal in 1976. She completed her aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College in 1982. In the same year, she moved to the United States where she completed her Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984.
Her first mission
In 1986, Chawla took a second Masters and a PhD in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1997, she became the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in Space Shuttle Columbia as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
Her last flight
In the year, 2000, Kalpana was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. The mission got repeatedly delayed and Kalpana returned to space on January 16, 2003
Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, with the death of all of seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107. Just 16 minutes before landing, the space shuttle burnt and disintegrated, killing all on board.
Photo courtesy: NASA