An American Cargo Spacecraft has been named after the late NASA’s Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla. The Spacecraft is bound to International Space station. The honour is designated to the late astronaut for her contributions in human space flight, being the First Indian born woman to enter space.
Cygnus capsule named “S.S Kalpana Chawla”
Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defence technology company honoured Kalpana Chawla by naming its Cygnus capsule “S.S Kalpana Chawla”. Her first mission was as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. She along with her other six crew members died in 2003 in a Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated over Texas on its re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere. The accident happened shortly before they were about to conclude the 28th mission.
Chawla –“ First Indian born Woman in Space”
She was born on March 17, 1962, in Haryana, India. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College. To pursue her higher studies and PhD she moved to the US. She received a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, and a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988. She started her career in NASA as a powered-lift computational fluid dynamics researcher at the Ames Research Centre in California.
“S.S Kalpana Chawla” to dock with ISS
It is the company’s tradition to name its every Cygnus capsule after the person who had played an important role in human spaceflight. The “S.S. Kalpana Chawla” is programmed to launch on the NG-14 mission atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Sept. 29 at 10:26 p.m. EDT (0226 GMT Sept. 30). The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at International Space Station and attach to it two days later.