After Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, another Indian-origin citizen-scientist astronaut Shawna Pandya has been in the news recently. Pandya, 32, who has her roots in Mumbai and was born in Canada, is a general physician.
The multi-faceted Pandya is an author and a taekwondo champion. She is currently involved with Project Possum and the PHEnom project. While several reports claimed that she would be the third Indian-origin astronaut into space, Pandya took to her Facebook and Twitter accounts to clear the air.
"There has been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions with respect to my work as a citizen-scientist astronaut with Project Possum or The PHEnOM Project. I am no more or less likely to fly than any other member of than these projects than I was 24 hours ago. I remain, however, a steadfast, committed and dedicated teammate and crew member to the work of both projects."
"My work is separate from the work of the Canadian Space Agency and that of NASA, and should not be represented as such. The Canadian Space Agency astronaut selection is ongoing and will be finalized this year; I am not a part of the selection. While I have previously interned at NASA-Johnson Space Center, I have no current affiliation with either organization, and would like to clarify that any reports or articles claiming as such are mistaken."
Currently in Mumbai, she is interacting with students and is delivering lectures in hospitals. Pandya who is part of both the projects has undergone astronaut training.