The next spacecraft carrying supplies to International Space Station is named after Kalpana Chawla, who died while returning to earth on Columbia space shuttle in 2003
The next spacecraft carrying supplies to the International Space Station will be called SS Kalpana Chawla, after the first woman of Indian descent to go into space.
“Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent,” Northrop Grumman, makers of Cygnus space craft that will be carrying the payload, announced in a tweet.
“Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact. Meet our next #Cygnus vehicle, the S.S. Kalpana Chawla.”
The lift-off of the new spacecraft to ISS is scheduled for September 29.
Chawla, who was born and raised in Karnal, became the first woman of Indian descent to go to space as a member of the crew of space Shuttle Columbia on January 16, 2003. She and the rest of the crew died on February 1 over southern US when the shuttle broke up on entry to earth, just 16 minutes away from its scheduled landing.
Northrop Grumman said, “It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Chawla was selected in honour of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.”
Sunita Williams became the second astronaut of Indian descent to go into space, in 2006. She went on to establish a world record for females with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes (which has since been overtaken) — during her six-month stay in ISS. She went up again in 2012, on a Russian space ship, for five months.
News credit: Hindustan Times