“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.”

Kalpana Chawla is the First Indian Woman Space professional. She is still remembered by the attributions to her name that include, “Kalpana” satellite (MetSat series), Asteriod 51826 Kalpana Chawla, hill, lane, building, etc. and Kalpana Chawla Award by Government of Karnataka.

Born : 17th March, 1962 in Karnal, Punjab, India

Died :  1st February, 2003 at the age of 40 in Aboard Space Shuttle Columbia over Texas, U.S.

Father : Banarasi Lal Chawla

Mother : Sanjyothi Chawla

Spouse : Jean-Pierre Harrison

Started to work in NASA  : In 1988

Selected by NASA as an Astronaut : In December 1994

Total Time in Space : 31day 14hour 54minutes

Launched into space for the first time : Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997

Missions :  STS-87 ans STS-107

Awards : NASA Space Flight Medal, Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

7 Important facts about the life and journey of Kalpana Chawla :

Initial Tenure In India

In 1982, Kalpana Chawla completed her graduation in Aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh.  Prior to that, she had her schooling at Tagore Baal Niketan Senior Secondary School, Karnal, India.

United States And Life With Spouse

Aiming a high take off in career, she pursued her Master in Aerospace Engineering from Texas University in Arlington, US, in 1984. Post her second Masters, she attained her Doctorate degree in the same from University of Colorado.

NASA – A Prolific Turn of  Flamboyant Career

Kalpana Chawla joined NASA Astronaut Corps in 1995. She bagged her first space-flight for Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87 that comprised a crew of six astronauts.

The Successful Maiden Flight-Mission Of Space

During the course of her first flight, she widely experimented while traversing on 252 orbits, that makes 101 million miles of distance. She logged in for 372 hours.

Second Mission: The Flight That Led To The Death Of A Stalwart

Kalpana Chawla was also a member-astronaut for the STS-107, her second flight. During her time in space, she conducted multiple micro-gravity experiments. The unfortunate time of STS-107 took away her life as the shuttle eventually collapsed in earth’s atmosphere, during its re-entry. The mishap killed all the crew members on 1st February 2003.

Contribution to the field

Gaining her expertise in computational fluid Dynamics and being Certificated Flight Instructor while at Nasa, she researched in vertical as well as short take-off and landing theories.  Kalpana Chawla was recruited as Crew representative for technical issues of Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches. She had been successful, owing to her dedicated work, in testing space shuttle control software and evolving the mechanism of Robotic Situational Awareness Displays.

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