Late Indian astronaut Kalpana Chawla gets honoured by US with a spacecraft in her name!
Galatta | Sep 10, 2020, 08:00 pm
The name Kalpana Chawla is very inspirational and is almost revered in India, especially by the youth and women! She is the first woman of Indian origin to fly to space! Born in India, Kalpana Chawla was always fascinated by planes and flying. After passing out with flying colours in her Bachelor's degree, she moved to the USA and after further education, joined NASA! She flew to outer space on her first mission, as part of a six-astronaut crew, in 1997. Chawla's second space mission was to be in 2001 but after a number of delays, finally happened on January 16, 2003! Unfortunately, this turned out to be her last, as the shuttle she was travelling in, disintegrated and killed everybody onboard, while re-entering the Earth's surface!
Though Kalpana Chawla lost her life in this Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, her memories are still very much alive in the minds of hearts of many people, across the world! Now, the United States is immortalising Kalpana Chawla's name by giving her a huge honour! Northrop Grumman - an American global aerospace and defence technology company, has announced that its next space capsule would be named S.S. Kalpana Chawla, in remembrance of the late astronaut! A tweet from the company mentioned, "Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact."
In a statement released on Northrop Grumman's website, it said, "Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Kalpana Chawla. It is the company's tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight!" This new Cygnus capsule is said to be a commercial cargo spacecraft which is bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The S.S. Kalpana Chawla is scheduled to be launched on the NG-14 mission on a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, on September 29th! This mission will have around 3,629 kg of cargo payload to be delivered at the ISS. Kalpana Chawla's words while in space on her first mission were, "You are just your intelligence!" This is indeed a huge honour for the lady who has inspired hundreds of thousands of people!