Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut primarily belonging to India. She made India feel proud not only in the United States but the entire world. She has the privilege to be the first Indian woman reaching into space.
She was born in Karnal, Haryana on 17 March 1962. Initially, she dreamt of becoming a successful engineer, but she also wanted to travel space in her life. Her desire to travel space was inspired by JRD Tata, a pioneer Indian pilot and industrialist.
She graduated in Engineering in 1982 and completed masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Texas.
Career in NASA
She joined NASA in 1995. Her first space mission began on 19 November 1997 with flight STS-87. Kalpana travelled 1.04 million miles in this mission and spent more than 360 hours in space.
Kalpana married to Jean-Pierre Harrison, a flight instructor and aviation writer in 1983.
She got her second space flight in 2000 through STS-107. The mission finally started on 16 January 2003. There were six other people with her when her flight crashed on 1 January 2003, and they all died.
Governments of India and other countries posthumously honoured her with several awards and named many monuments such as airports, schools, hospitals, etc after her.