Kalpana Chawla

Jul 1, 1961 - Feb 1, 2003

Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor. She is regarded as a national hero in India.
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“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.”

Kalpana Chawla
Jul 1, 1961 - Feb 1, 2003
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