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U.S. Spacecraft to be named after Kalpana Chawla

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1st India born Woman to enter Space, NASA Astronaut Kalpana Chawla (1961-2003), will be named after a U.S. Spacecraft.

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An American commercial cargo aircraft will soon be embarking on the journey to the international space station. The decision to name the plane after the late Astronaut was taken by a global aerospace company, Northrop Grumman, which is based out of the States.

Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defense technology company, recently announced that its next NG-14 Cygnus capsule would be named the “S.S. Kalpana Chawla,” in memory of the mission specialist who died with her six crewmates aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.

The company’s tradition is to name each Cygnus after an individual who played a pivotal role in human spaceflight.

Liftoff is targeted for September 29 from NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center.

Story of Kalpana Chawla

Born in Karnal, India, Graduated from Tagore School in 1976, Kalpana Chawla descended on February 1, 2003, over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew perished during entry, 16 minutes before scheduled landing.

Like every pioneer, she enjoyed flying, hiking, backpacking, and reading. She had a certified Flight Instructor’s license with airplane and glider ratings. She relished her life in flying aeronautics and tailwheel airplanes.

Chawla then moved to the States to pursue her masters in 1984 and majored with a Master of Science in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas-Arlington. And Doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988.

Kalpana Chawla started her career at NASA in 1988 as a power lift computational fluid dynamics researcher at the Ames Research Center in California. Her work concentrated over simulating complex air flows encountered by aircraft flying in “ground effect.”

After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut corps. She was later selected in December 1994 and reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1995 as an astronaut candidate in Group 15.

In November 1996, Kalpana Chawla was assigned as a mission specialist on STS-87 abroad, the Space Shuttle Columbia. She became the First Indian descent Astronaut to fly out to Space. Her second flight was in 2001 when she was chosen for the crew of STS-107. In dedication to science and research, with approximately 80 experiments completed. STS-107 was her last spaceflight, as the Space Shuttle disintegrated upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

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The world lives by her name and progresses in her achievements. Along with her, Sunita Williams became the second Astronaut of Indian descent to go into Space in 2006. She set a world record for females with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes, which has since been overtaken. She went up again in 2012, on a Russian spaceship for five months.

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