Kalpana Chawla Biography & Rare Photos


Kalpana chawla was born in Karnal, India (  Born: July 1, 1961, Karnal
Died: February 1, 2003 Texas ). She is an inspiration to the entire world for her numerous achievements . She died on February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing. She is survived by her husband. Kalpana Chawla enjoyed flying, hiking, backpacking, and reading. She held a Certificated Flight Instructor's license with airplane and glider ratings, Commercial Pilot's licenses for single- and multi-engine land and seaplanes, and Gliders, and instrument rating for airplanes. She enjoyed flying aerobatics and tail-wheel airplanes.

EDUCATION:
Graduated from Tagore School, Karnal, India, in 1976. Bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India, 1982. Master of science degree in aerospace engineering from University of Texas, 1984. Doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering from University of Colorado, 1988.

AWARDS:
Posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

EXPERIENCE:
In 1988, Kalpana Chawla started work at NASA Ames Research Center in the area of powered-lift computational fluid dynamics. Her research concentrated on simulation of complex air flows encountered around aircraft such as the Harrier in "ground-effect." Following completion of this project she supported research in mapping of flow solvers to parallel computers, and testing of these solvers by carrying out powered lift computations. In 1993 Kalpana Chawla joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, as Vice President and Research Scientist to form a team with other researchers specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. She was responsible for development and implementation of efficient techniques to perform aerodynamic optimization. Results of various projects that Kalpana Chawla participated in are documented in technical conference papers and journals.

NASA EXPERIENCE:
Selected by NASA in December 1994, Kalpana Chawla reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 as an astronaut candidate in the 15th Group of Astronauts. After completing a year of training and evaluation, she was assigned as crew representative to work technical issues for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and Computer Branches. Her assignments included work on development of Robotic Situational Awareness Displays and testing space shuttle control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory. In November, 1996, Kalpana Chawla was assigned as mission specialist and prime robotic arm operator on STS-87. In January 1998, she was assigned as crew representative for shuttle and station flight crew equipment, and subsequently served as lead for Astronaut Offices Crew Systems and Habitability section. She flew on STS-87 (1997) and STS-107 (2003), logging 30 days, 14 hours and 54 minutes in space.

RARE PHOTOS :

Kalpana chawla Memorial
Kalpana chawla Memorial 



Kalpana chawla Planetarium in Haryana , India
Kalpana chawla Planetarium in Haryana , India 

Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew
Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew members

Kalpana chawla
Kalpana chawla 

Kalpana chawla 

A Special Postal envelope cover with Kalpana chawla's name printed in India
A Special Postal envelope cover with Kalpana chawla's name printed in India

Photo of Kalpana Chawla
Photo of Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew members
Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew members

Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew members
Kalpana chawla with the members of the Space crew members

Kalpana chawla
Kalpana chawla 


Kalpana chawla's crew foundation was laid at U.S.A
Kalpana chawla's crew foundation was laid at U.S.A

Kalpana chawla inside  the Space shuttle
Kalpana chawla inside  the Space shuttle 

Kalpana chawla inside  the Space shuttle
Kalpana chawla inside  the Space shuttle 


SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE:
 STS-87 Columbia (November 19 to December 5, 1997). STS-87 was the fourth U.S Microgravity Payload flight and focused on experiments designed to study how the weightless environment of space affects various physical processes, and on observations of the Sun's outer atmospheric layers. Two members of the crew performed an EVA (spacewalk) which featured the manual capture of a Spartan satellite, in addition to testing EVA tools and procedures for future Space Station assembly. STS-87 made 252 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6.5 million miles in in 376 hours and 34 minutes.

STS-107 Columbia (January 16 to February 1, 2003). The 16-day flight was a dedicated science and research mission. Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments. The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia and the crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing.

The only Indian woman to travel into space, Kalpana Chawla was a national hero in India. When she was born July 1, 1961, in Karnal, India, Chawla's mother was surprised to see that the infant who had kicked so furiously from inside was a girl. Chawla continued to kick and fight her way to gain privileges denied to girls in India. She was the only girl in her class who was selected to attend Punjab Engineering College, attending over the objections of her father. She left India in 1982 to attend college in the United States. There she met her husband, who encouraged her to fly.

A practicing Hindu and strict vegetarian, Chawla continued to study and work in the field of aeronautics. In 1994, on a whim, she applied to NASA, never expecting to be selected into their astronaut program. At five-feet tall, she was too small to be able to work in the space station, which was her dream. Since the white spacesuit that astronauts were required to wear when transferring from the shuttle to the station didn't fit, Chawla was relegated to internal duties inside the shuttle. She first went into space as a mission specialist on the Columbia Space Shuttle in November, 1997.

The Columbia Space Shuttle, which departed on January 16, 2003, and ended tragically in an explosion 16 days later, was Chawla's second mission. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.


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