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Kalpana Chawla


NASA’s initial Indian astronaut as well as the initial Indian-born female in space. She passed away in the area Shuttle Columbia catastrophe. She gained her undergraduate level in India, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in aerospace executive at the University or college of Colorado at Boulder. Times after her loss of life, India’s Primary Minister announced the renaming of some climate satellites to KAPLANA in her honor. She was raised in Karnal, Haryana. In 1983, she wedded Jean-Pierre Harrison. Laurel Clark was also aboard the ill-fated Columbia shuttle when it disintegrated.

Quick Facts

Full Name Kalpana Chawla
Date Of Birth March 17, 1962
Died February 1, 2003, Texas, United States
Place Of Birth Karnal, India
Profession Astronaut
Education University of Colorado Boulder, University of Texas at Arlington, PEC University of Technology, Tagore Baal Niketan Sr. Sec. School, Karnal, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Nationality Indian, American
Spouse Jean-Pierre Harrison
Parents Banarasi Lal Chawla, Sanjyothi Chawla
Siblings Sanjay Chawla, Sunita Chawla, Deepa Chawla
Awards Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal
Star Sign Pisces

  • Facts
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1She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
2Novelist Peter (Allen) David named a shuttle, the Chawla, after her in his novel "Before Dishonor" (Star Trek: The Next Generation: New York: Pocket Books, 2007; ISBN 1416527427).
3Among her many memorials, she had a peak in a mountain chain on Mars named for her, an asteroid (51826 Kalpanachawla), an Indian series of meteorological satellites, students' and colleges' awards, a NASA supercomputer, a song from the musical group Deep Purple's Steve Morse, and many more sites and activities.
4On her second and last Space Shuttle mission, begun January 16, 2003, Chawla's responsibilities included crucial microgravity studies, for which the crew conducted nearly 80 experiments studying Earth and Space Science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety.
5On her first space mission (November 19, 1997) with the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles in 252 orbits of the Earth, logging more than 360 hours in space.
6Chawla joined the NASA astronaut corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1998.
7She became a naturalized United States citizen in 1990.
8Kalpana had two sisters, Sunita and Deepa, and a brother, Sanjay.
9Montsu is the affectionate form of Kalpana Chawla's family name, Montu; the name Kalpana, meaning "imagination" in Hindi, three-year old Montu chose for herself.
10The first Indian-American scientist / NASA astronaut, she was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.



Seconds from Disaster2005TV Series documentaryHerself - Astronaut
The First Israeli in Space2003Video documentaryHerself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

Nova2008TV Series documentaryHerself - Columbia Astronaut
When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions2008TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
Mars Rising2007TV Series documentaryHerself - STS 107
Beyond the Moon: Failure Is Not an Option 22005TV Movie documentaryHerself

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