My Expressions

Date : 17 March 2020

  • Young Voice
  • Shreya Rajput

Today, 17th March is the birthday of Kalpana Chawla, the first female of Indian origin who went into space. She was an American astronaut.

This is what I know about Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana was born in Karnal, HaryanaIndia. As a child, she liked to draw airplanes.

Her dreams led her to study Aeronautical Engineering at Punjab Engineering College (PEC). She did her masters in aerospace engineering, from the University of Texas, earned a second masters and Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in aerospace engineering. Then life happened, she joined NASA.

She was meant for space!

  • Her first space mission was on November 17, 1996, with 6 other astronauts. They flew in Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87.
  • In the year 2000 she was selected for her second mission STS 107. There were some technical problems because of which flight operations were postponed for 2 years.
  • In January 2003, she again went to space in Space Shuttle Columbia STS 107. The crew conducted several experiments in space.
  • Unfortunately, on February 1, 2003, the space shuttle crashed when it was returning back into the earth’s atmosphere. All the seven crew members including Kalpana Chawla died.

During her first mission, she said: “You are just your intelligence.” She completed 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space in all.

When we work hard, awards and recognitions follow

The first satellite of the series, “MetSat-1”, launched by India on September 12, 2002, was renamed “Kalpana” after the sad incident when the world lost Kalpana. She received the many memorial awards like –

  1. Congressional Space Medal of Honor
  2. NASA space flight medal
  3. NASA distinguished service medal

She made everyone proud with her career and accomplishments. She is a great example of what women can achieve by opting for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

So the historic person, who I wish were alive is Kalpana Chawla. She should have been around to inspire hundreds of Indian girls to live their dreams. We can learn from here, how to select the subjects of our choice. Then work hard and become what we really want to be.


Shreya Rajput

10, Venkateshwar Global School, New Delhi, Delhi

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