India salutes ‘brave space woman’ Kalpana Chawla on her birth anniversary

On her 55th birth anniversary, India paid rich tributes to Kalpana Chawla.

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On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Kalpana Chawla, the Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman in space, the nation paid rich tributes to her on Friday.

Born in Karnal, Haryana on March 17, 1962, Chawla died on February 1, 2003, over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry into atmosphere, 16 minutes before the scheduled landing.

Because of her special journey from Karnal to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US, Kalpana is a role model for women across the world. The hashtag, #KalpanaChawla, was trending on Twitter on Friday.

Here we bring you a few nuggets from her extraordinary life...

From Haryana to America

Kalpana completed her school education from Karnal. Thereafter, she did a course in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. Then she went to the US in 1982 where she obtained a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas. She also obtained her doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.

It all started at the NASA

Kalpana joined the NASA Ames Research Center in 1988. After becoming a naturalised American citizen, she joined the NASA Corps in March 1995.

ISRO honours Kalpana

In the honour of Kalpana, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched Kalpana-1 meteorological satellite.

Maiden flight to space

Kalpana's first flight was on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. The mission began on November 19, 1997, and Kalpana was a part of a six-astronaut crew.

Second flight to space was her last too

Three years after her first flight she was chosen as the crew in STS-107. After much delay, the mission commenced in 2003. Unfortunately, the 16-day flight, that took off on January 16 collapsed 16 minutes before landing the earth's atmosphere.

Picture Credit: Wikimedia

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