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15th death anniversary of Kalpana Chawla

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    People across the world are paying tributes on 15th death anniversary of first woman astronaut of Indian origin Kalpana Chawla. She died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1st in 2003. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mentioned Kalpana Chawla in his 'Mann ki baat' saying, " She sent a valuable message to all Indians, especially young girls. Her message is, "Nothing is impossible for women, if they have a strong will."

    Kalpana Chawla , a Haryanvi girl

    Kalpana Chawla , a Haryanvi girl

    Kalpana Chawla was born on March 1962 in Haryana, she completed her school from Karnal. She studied aeronautical engineering at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. In 1982, she moved to the US to pursue Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas followed with a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.

    First opportunity to fly

    First opportunity to fly

    In 1997, she made her first step towards the stars as she got her first opportunity to fly the space shuttle Columbia on flight STS-87. On February 1, 2003, along with six other crew members, Kalpana Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

    Crew members of Columbia space shuttle

    Crew members of Columbia space shuttle

    The seven crew members who died aboard this final mission were: Rick Husband, Commander; William C. McCool, Pilot; Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander/Mission Specialist 3; David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 1; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 2; Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist 4; and Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist 1.

    The tragedy

    The tragedy

    Columbia space shuttle was destroyed at about 09:00 EST on February 1, 2003 while re-entering the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined that a hole was punctured in the leading edge on one of Columbia's wings, made of a carbon composite. The hole had formed when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's left wing.

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