Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman in space. She was born in Karnal, Haryana in 1961. She graduated in aerospace engineering from Punjab Engineering College and later did her doctorate from the USA in 1988. Later she was selected by NASA.
- Kalpana was from a middle class home and was an average student at school but she always dreamed big.
- She had a huge interest and fascination for airplanes and dreamt of flying in the sky like a winged bird.
- In 1994 she joined NASA and trained to be an astronaut.
- Kalpana Chawla began reporting to the Johnson Space Center in 1995, as NASA’s candidate in the 151th Group of Astronauts.
- Chawla went on her first space mission in December 1997, on space shuttle STS-87, for 16-day space research. It was her dreams come true!
- In 2003, January, Kalpana was selected to join the crew of STS-107 and to US space shuttle Columbia.
- She and all other Six crew members tragically lost their life as Columbia space shuttle exploded during its descent back, minutes before landing.
Kalpana Chawla remains an inspiration for many, especially in India, as the first Indian woman in this field. She is also fondly and with much sadness remembered till today.