Nation Pays Tributes To Kalpana Chawla On Her 56th Birth Anniversary

Kalpana Chawla

On her 56th birthday, citizens across the country celebrated Kalpana Chawla - the first Indian-born woman to fly in space and only the second Indian person to do so. Her death was unfortunate, due to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, which took place on February 1, 2003.

In her last interview to India Today, which she gave just before taking off on her second and final space mission, Chalwa shared her memories of sleeping "in the courtyard under the stars" while growing up in Karnal, Haryana. This led to a chain of events when finally, the space shuttle exploded mid-air only 18 minutes away from landing in Texas. She attended the Punjab Engineering College and completed her undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering in 1983 after which, she went to the United States to pursue higher studies. "She continues to be an incredible role-model & inspiration as she showed the world that nothing is impossible for women if they have strong will.@NASA", Javadekar tweeted.

"My tributes to Late #KalpanaChawla, first Indian Woman Astronaut, on her birth anniversary". It is now known as "Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award". In 1993 Kalpana Chawla joined Overset Methods, Los Altos, California, as Vice President and Research Scientist to form a team with other researchers specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems.

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Chawla's second space trip in 2003 ended tragically when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing her and all the other crew members. After completing a year of training and evaluation, she was assigned as crew representative to work technical issues for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches.

She had spent almost 31 days in space during her two missions. The flight was of a 16-day and the crew members conducted near about 80 experiments.

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