While traveling the weightlessness of Space she spoke the following words “You are just your intelligence”

Kalpana Chawala - Image Credit - NASA

Kalpana Chawla was the first Indo-American astronaut and first Indian woman in space. She moved to the United States in 1982, where she obtained a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984, and PhD in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a strong will to become an astronaut. Joined NASA Ames Research Center in 1988 as Vice President of Overset Methods, Inc. where she did Computational Fluid Dynamics research on Vertical-Short Takeoff and Landing concepts. Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps. She joined the Corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia on November 19, 1997 as a mission specialist. While traveling the weightlessness of space, at a distance of 10.67 million km from earth (as many as 252 times around the Earth) she spoke the following words “You are just your intelligence”. After a successful mission, during the launch of STS-107, Columbia’s 28th mission, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the left wing and the damage to Columbia was more serious. The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.


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