Kalpana Chawla: Asians in Space!


Dreams are limitless for Montu, also known as Kalpana Chawla, an Indian born and raised girl who pursued a dream, traveling halfway around the world to get to space becoming the first Indian woman to do so.

Taking up Aeronautical Engineering in Punjab Engineering College, Montu was in her 20's when she left for the US to continue her education and reach for masters and doctorate in the same course in the University of Texas and University of Colorado.

Naturalizing her citizenship was the start of many great opportunities for Montu, Obtaining to be a certified pilot for seaplanes, certified pilot for multi-engine aircraft, as well as a licensed flight instructor for gliders.

It was at age 26 she joined Ames Research Center in NASA and eventually got into NASA Astronaut Corps. Montu continued working her way to the top passing every requirement to fly to space.

Montu opened opportunities for her country, specifically her town in Haryana, by conducting a program that would bring women like her to NASA two times a year.

Finally, It was on the Space Shuttle Columbia Flight STS-87 when she got the chance to ride to space for observation, she was 35.

Five years later, She once again had orbited around the earth and conducted several experiments during that time of her second voyage.

The space shuttle made its way back to the planet on the morning of February 1, 2003, with the goal of landing at Kennedy Space Center.

Tragically, the shield that protects the shuttle from heat during re-entry, a briefcase-sized piece of insulation, had come loose during launch that damaged the thermal protection system, then hot gas began to pour into the shuttle's wing as it traveled through Earth's atmosphere, taking the life of all the crew onboard including Montu's.

She was mourned all over the US and in her hometown, living significance, honor and becoming an inspiration to many that dreams can be limitless no matter what.

Written by: Ellyssa van Schaijk

Ellyssa van Schaijk is a digital marketing intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is a 3rd-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from Batangas State University-Arasof Nasugbu Campus, Philippines.

Source: Brut India. " The Life of Astronaut Kalpana Chawla. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/14fXq-2gSAE


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Kalpana Chawla: Asians in Space!
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