Kalpana Chawla Memorial Day – February 1


 The First Indian Woman in Space

Chawla was born on 17 March 1962 After getting a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, she moved to the United States in 1982 where she obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984.Chawla went on to earn a second Masters in 1986 and a PhD in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado Boulder.

First space mission :

Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space, following astronaut Rakesh Sharma who flew in 1984 on the Soyuz T-11. She spoke the following words while traveling in the weightlessness of space, “You are just your intelligence”.Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles (16737177.6 K M) in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours (15 Days and 12 Hours) in space

Second space mission :

In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. This mission was repeatedly delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems such as the July 2002 discovery of cracks in the shuttle engine flow liners. On January 16, 2003, Chawla finally returned to space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on the ill-fated STS-107 mission

Death :

Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which occurred on February 1, 2003; she was killed, along with the other six crew members, when the Columbiadisintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107

6 Things to Know About Kalpana Chawla

  1. Kalpana Chawla completed her early education in Punjab.
  2. She became a naturalized US citizen in April 1991 and applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps.
  3. In 1997, she became the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space.
  4. Her second flight was also her last.
  5. She was posthumously honoured with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
  6. Kalpana Chawla logged 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space over the course of her two missions.
  • Born: 17 March 1962, Karnal
  • Died: 1 February 2003, Texas, United States
  • Space missions: STS-107, STS-87
  • Spouse: Jean-Pierre Harrison (m. 1983–2003)
  • Siblings: Deepa Chawla, Sunita Chawla, Sanjay Chawla
  • Education: University of Colorado Boulder (1988)
  • Time in space: 30d 14h 54min