Kalpana Chawla - History

 Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962/1961 – February 1, 2003) was an American astronaut of Indian origin. She was the first Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman to go into space. She got married to flight instructor Jean-Pierre Harrison.[2] She first flew in 1997 on the STS-87. She served on the shuttle as of mission specialist and the main person sleeping the shuttle's robotic arms.

Kalpana Chawlabulla
Kalpana Chawla, NASA photo portrait in orange suit.jpg
KarnalPunjab, India
(now in Haryana, India)
Dieddeath date and age
Aboard Space Shuttle Columbia over Texas, U.S.
Alma materPunjab Engineering College
University of Texas at Arlington
University of Colorado at Boulder
AwardsCongressional Space Medal of Honor
Space career
Time in space
31 days, 14 hours, 54 minutes[1]
Selection1994 NASA Group
Mission insignia
Sts-87-patch.svg STS-107 Flight Insignia.svg

Early lifeEdit

Chawla was born in KarnalHaryana. She got a degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering elementary school. She moved to America and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the 1990s. She earned a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas. She got her doctorate from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1993. She began flying with people for NASA at the Ames Research the same year.


In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second voyage into space, serving again as a mission specialist on STS-107. The mission was delayed several times, and finally launched in 2003. Over the course of the 16-day flight, the crew completed more than 80 experiments. Kalpana was one of the seven people killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003.[3]

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