Kalpana Chawla, who was the first Indian astronaut to reach the space died today in 2003 after the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during the entry to Earth, 16 minutes before the landing. 15 years ago, the news that Kalpana along with her six crew members died in a horrific incident shocked the nation. The accident happened because the shutter’s left wing got damaged due to aluminium heat-insulating tile. On the 15th death anniversary of the lady, who made India proud, take a look back into her life.
The lady was born in 1962 in Punjab and wanted to be an astronaut right from her childhood. She graduated from Tagore School in 1976 and perused aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College in 1983. In 1988, Chawla received doctorate in aerospace engineering from Boulder, Colorado.
In 1988, she began her work in the American Space Agency. The lady served as mission specialist when she went to space on Jan 16, 2003. Kalpana, along with her crew conducted almost 80 experiments. The team died on February 1. She was honoured with the NASA Space Flight Medal, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.