Beyond The Sky: Kalpana Chawla

On this day Astronaut Kalpana Chawla was born. Kalpana Chawla was India's first women aeriform engineer to travel into space. She has been a role model to certain women in terms of achievement and benefaction to the field of aeronautics. Growing up in a male dominant community. Kalpana never let her dreams of flying be altered in any way. In fact she was the first woman to study aeronautical engineering in her group. Some of her in tribute are: the Kalpana Chawla given by the Karnataka Government, a dormitory titled after her in the University of Texas at Arlington from where Kalpana Chawla did her Masters and a planetarium in Haryana. This beam light on her meritorious and outstanding achievements.

Early Life Of Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla was born on the 17th March 1962 in a small city in Karnal located in the state of Haryana. Her parents, Banarsi Lal Chawla and Sanjyothi had two other daughter named Sunita and Deepa and a son named Sanjay. She (Kalpana) was the youngest in her family and thus, she was the most pampered too.

Kalpana Chawla got educated at the Tagore Public School and later inducted into Punjab Engineering College to complete her Aeronautical Engineering Degree in 1982. In the ditto year, Kalpana moved to the United States she got married to Jean-Pierre Harrison in 1983.

In 1984, Kalpana Chawla finished her M.S in Aerospace Engineering from the Academy of Texas in Arlington. In 1988, she access a Ph.D. in the same subject from the Academy of Colorado at Boulder.

Career Of Kalpana Chawla

She was a certified flight instructor who rated aircrafts and gilders. Kalpana Chawla also adhered a commercial pilot license for single and multi-engine airplanes , hydroplanes and gliders. She was a licensed Technician class Amateur Radio person accredited by the Federal Communication commission. Owing to her numerous degrees in Aerospace. She got a post in NASA as the Vice President of the Overset form, Inc. in 1993.

Kalpana Chawla was largely involved in computational fluid dynamics research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing. It was not as far as 1995 that she became a part of the NASA 'Astronaut Corps'.


It was on 1st February 2003 that the space shuttle, STS-107, disintegrated over the Texas district when it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. This disastrous event finished the lives of 7 crew members including Kalpana Chawla.

Achievements and Awards

Despite living in US, she was considered  the pride of India. Kalpana was the first Indian woman to travel in a space shuttle for 372 hours and complete 252 rotations around the Earth's atmosphere. Kalpana's achievements has been an inspiration to many persons in India and abroad. There are many science institutions titled after her.

During Kalpana Chawla lifetime, she was awarded with three awards especially the Congressional Space Medal Of Honor.

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