Kalpana Chawla’s death anniversary: Tribute to the first female astronaut of Indian origin
By Sanjay Maurya
The journey matters as much as the goal.
February 1 is the 16th death anniversary of Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman to go into space. She was one of seven crew members died when the Space Shuttle Columbia destroyed over Texas during its re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Chawla was not only the first Indian-origin woman to fly to space, but she was also just the second Indian after Rakesh Sharma to do so.
Thousands of people across the world, particularly women who desire to be astronauts, continue to be inspired by her sad demise years later. Several netizens paid tribute to the woman who received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously. Chawla, who was born in Karnal in 1961 and was propelled into space in 1997, was remembered by everyone from politicians to activists.
- Born: 1962, Karnal
- Died: 1 February 2003, United States
- Space missions: STS-87, STS-107
- Spouse: Jean-Pierre Harrison (m. 1983–2003)
- Education: University of Colorado Boulder (1988), MORE
- Awards: Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal
- Parents: Banarasi Lal Chawla, Sanjyothi Chawla
Kalpana earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineer degree from Punjab Engineering College in India in 1982. In 1984, she earned a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas. In 1988, she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado.
Kalpana’s final mission was STS-107, a 16-day mission dedicated to science and study in orbit, which she completed in 2003. According to NASA, the Columbia crew of six conducted 80 experiments before the mission ended in catastrophe. February 1 will mark the 18th death anniversary of the woman who became the first Indian woman in space and the second Indian to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere, second only to Rakesh Sharma.
Kalpana Chawla Quotes
- “Listen to the sounds of nature. Wishing you the best on your trek towards your dreams.”- Kalpana Chawla
- “If you want to do something, what does it matter where you are ranked?” – Kalpana Chawla
- “Take good care of our fragile planet.” – Kalpana Chawla
- “I am from Karnal, India.” – Kalpana Chawla
- “Do something because you really want to do it. If you’re doing it just for the goal and don’t enjoy the path, then I think you’re cheating yourself.” – Kalpana Chawla
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