Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian origin woman to fly to space. She was born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, Kalpana became a citizen of the United States in 1991.
On November 19, 1997, Kalpana became the first woman of Indian origin to fly to space as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87.
According to Kalpana’s last wishes, her mortal remains were creamed and scattered at Zion National Park in Utah.
NASA has dedicated a supercomputer to Kalpana Chawla.
On her birth anniversary, we remember Kalpana’s story of vigour and determination with tracing back the crucial events that occurred in her life
- Kalpana was born on March 17, 1962, in Punjab’s Karnal(now Haryana). Her official date of birth was altered to 1 July 1961 in order to make her eligible for the matriculation exam.
- Young Kalpana used to draw aeroplanes.
- Kalpana Chawla received her Bachelors in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh in 1982. She went on to later pursue MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas, she also earned a PhD in aerospace engineering.
- Chawla began working at NASA Ames Research Centre in 1988.
- Following her long stay in the United States, she received citizenship by naturalization in 1991.
- In 1997, Chawla flew to space for the first time when she was chosen to be a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator in the Space Shuttle Columbia. With this, she became the first Indian-born woman to fly in the space.
- On 1 February 2003, Chawla’s second flight to the space disintegrating on its way back to early over coming back. Kalpana died along with 6 others.
- On 5 February 2003, the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the renaming of Meteorological series of satellites to MetSat.
- The Girls’ hostels at PEC and Delhi Technological University have been named in her honour.
- Multiple scholarships, institutions in India and the United States of America have been named after her.