Kalpana Chawla | Brief Biography




Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla

Introduction: Kalpana Chawla (1962 – 2003) was an American astronaut and the first woman of Indian origin in space. 

Birth and Education: Kalpana Chawla was born on March 17, 1962.  Banarasi Lal Chawla was her father and Sanjyothi Chawla was her mother.  As a child, Kalpana liked to draw pictures of aeroplanes. After getting a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, she moved to the United States in 1982 where she obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1984. In 1983 she married Jean Pierre Harrison.

Career as an Astronaut: In 1988, she began working at NASA, where she did Computational Fluid Dynamics Research on vertical or short take-off and landing concepts. Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space.  On her first mission, Chawla travelled over 10.4 million miles in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours (15 Days and 12 Hours) in space. 

In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107 and she with his associates performed nearly 80 experiments studying earth and space science. During the launch of STS-107, Columbia’s 28th mission, the shuttle had had minor damage from foam shedding, but  NASA managers limited the investigation reasoning that the crew could not have fixed the problem if it had been confirmed. When Columbia re-entered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and break apart. 

Death: Kalpana died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003, when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The disaster took the death of all seven crew members along with Kalpana Chawla. Chawla’s remains were identified along with the rest of the crew members and were cremated and scattered at National Park in Utah.

Conclusion: Kalpana Chawla though died young, had left behind her a legend of becoming a successful female astronaut of Indian origin. The young generation of ours should be inspired by her life. 0 0 0

N. B. This article ‘Kalpana Chawla’ originally belongs to the bookSchool Essays Part-Iby Menonim Menonimus.


Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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