Biography of Kalpana Chawla Study Material

Biography of Kalpana Chawla


Kalpana Chawla was born on the 1st of July, 1961 in a small town in Karnal located in the state of Haryana. Her parents, Banarasi Lal Chawla and Sanjyothi had two other daughters named Sunita and Deepa and a son named Sanjay. Kalpana was the youngest in her family and hence, she was the most pampered too.


  • She got educated at the Tagore Public School and later enrolled into Punjab engineering College to complete her Aeronautical Engineering Degree in 1982. In the same year, she moved to the US. She got married to Jean-Pierre Harrison in 1983. He was her flying instructor and an aviation author.
  • In 1984, she completed her M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in Arlington. In 1988, she obtained a Ph.D. in the same subject from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Flight Events:

  • 1997: Her first mission on Flight STS-87 took place.
  • 2000: Assigned on her second mission as part of Flight STS-107.
  • 2003: Chawla got a second chance for the mission on Flight STS-107. On February 1st, she died when the space shuttle broke down.

Achievements and Accolades :

During her lifetime, Kalpana Chawla was awarded with three awards namely the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

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