On 1 February 2003, Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-origin American national and NASA astronaut, who moved beyond the blue skies into space died in the arms of the sky. A role model for many young women, Kalpana Chawla is still remembered for her incredible journey of fulfilling her dream of reaching out the stars.
Here are few things to know about this Karnal-born woman who never thought that she cannot reach the stars.
- She Studied in Punjab, Chandigarh and The United States
Before moving to the United States in 1982, Kalpana Chawla finished her schooling in Karnal and pursued a course in aeronautical engineering from PEC (Punjab Engineering College), Chandigarh. In American, she obtained a master degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas. Further, she earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering.
- In 1991, She Became Naturalized US Citizen
In 1988, Kalpana begins working at the NASA Ames Research Center in the area of powered-lift computational fluid dynamics and joined the corps in 1995. In 1991, she gained naturalized US citizenship.
- In 1997, She Fulfilled her Dream of Flying into Space
On 19th November 1997, Kalpana Chawla flew into space for the first time as a part of the six-astronaut crew on Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS- 87. She flew as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
- Here Second Flight Was the Last
Kalpana Chawla was selected for her second flight in 2000 as a part of the crew of STS- 107. The mission got delayed and was finally released in 2003. On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle, while trying to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, got disintegrated over Texas.
- Kalpana Logged 30 Days, 14 Hours in Space
During her course of the two missions, Kalpana logged 30 Days, 14 hours and 54 minutes in space.
On this day, Kalpana’s native country (India) mourns her death, and so does her adopted land (USA).