Kalpana Chawla, who gave wings to the young girls out there with her inspirational journey, was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The tragedy took place during the Space Shuttle’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003. Kalpana Chawla was the first woman astronaut of Indian origin and the second Indian person to fly in space after Rakesh Sharma. It has been 15 years since she left for her heavenly abode, but her legacy continues to inspire millions of young women who dare to dream big. Today, on March 17, the world is remembering the brave daughter of India on her 56th birth anniversary. On this occasion, let’s have a look at some interesting facts about Kalpana Chawla.
Kalpana Chawla developed her love for flying from a very tender age. As a child, she used to love drawing airplanes.
And in process of chasing her dream to fly, she received her degree in Bachelors of Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh. She left India in 1982 to receive her double masters and PhD in aerospace engineering from the United States.
In 1997, Kalpana Chawla first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
After completion of Space Shuttle Columbia post-flight activites, Chawla used to work at technical positions in the astronaut office to work on the space station.
She was one among the seven people who were chosen for second space mission. In January, 2003 she returned to space in Space Shuttle Columbia.
The mission was the last as it met the disaster, which killed Kalpana Chawla and other crew members.
Kalpana Chawla’s remains were cremated and scattered in National Park in Utah, as per her wishes.
India renamed MetSat-1 to Kalpana-1 in the honour of Kalpana Chawla.
Currently, India and the United States run scholarships, universities and institutions on her name to honour the brave astronaut.