Kalpana chawla, the first Indian-American astronaut had a robust desire to travel distant horizons. Growing up in a male dominant society, she never let her dreams of flying be affected in any way. Her wish came true when she first flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. She has been a role model to several women in terms of achievement and contributions to the field of aeronautics. Here are some interesting facts about Kalpana Chawla-
1. Early Life
Born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, Haryana. She belonged to an average middle class family. Being raised in a society where boys are favoured and girls expected to be obedient and docile, Kalpana decided to beat the odds and follow her dreams with the support of her mother.
Source: iloveindia.com, image: indianetzone.com
2. Educational background
She did her earlier schooling from Tagore Baal Niketan Senior Secondary School, Karnal and completed her B.Tech in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College at Chandigarh in 1982. Although, she never scored the highest marks in her class, but was always among the first five.
Source: wikipedia, image: rediff.com
3. Her move to US
Targeting NASA, she moved to the US in 1982 and obtained a Msc degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984.
Monto was the name given to Kalpana by her parents but she chose her own name. Monto beacame her nick name.
6. Her hobbies
Kalpana liked poetry, dancing, cycling and running at sports events and was invariably first in all the races. She often played badminton and dodge ball with boys.
7. Her dream
In order to be an astronaut she decided to have higher education. In 1986, she attained another master degree. In 1988, she completed a PhD in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado at Boulder.
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8. At NASA
She got the position of Vice President of Overset Methods, Inc at NASA Research Center.
Source: myinterestingfacts.com, image: cns-alumni.bu.edu
9. Vice president at NASA
After being the vice president at NASA, she was assigned to make Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing concepts.
Source: myinterestingfacts.com, image: science.ksc.nasa.gov
10. Certified Flight Instructor
She was certified with a commercial pilot license for the seaplanes, multi engine air place and glider. She also was a Certificated Flight Instructor for glider and airplanes.
Source: myinterestingfacts.com, image: blog.scientificworld.in
11. Astronaut Corps status
After becoming a US citizen in 1991, she applied for the membership of NASA Astronaut Corps .
For her excellent services, she achieved many awards such as Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
13. Tragic death
On February 1, 2003, along with 7 crew members, she died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which happened when the Space Shuttle disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Source: wikipedia, image: i.space.com
14. Spoken Word
Kalpana said after her first launch, “When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”