American global aerospace company names spacecraft in honour of Kalpana Chawla

WION Web Team Washington, United States Sep 09, 2020, 03.20 PM(IST)

Kalpana Chawla and Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft Photograph:( Agencies )

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Cygnus spacecraft is the company's next space station resupply ship that will liftoff from NASA's Wallops flight facility in located on the eastern Shore of Virginia to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 29.

American global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman has named the next Cygnus spacecraft after Dr Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement that ''Chawla was selected in honor of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.''

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Cygnus spacecraft is the company's next space station resupply ship that will liftoff from NASA's Wallops flight facility in located on the eastern Shore of Virginia to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 29.

Upon arrival at the International Space Station, the cargo will be unloaded from Cygnus. Once the spacecraft departs the station, S.S. Kalpana Chawla will host the Spacecraft Fire Experiment -V (Saffire-V) to study the behavior of large-scale fires in microgravity after which it will perform a safe, destructive reentry into Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Also read: Inspired by Kalpana Chawla, Kashmiri youth becomes first from valley to clear AME CET

Kalpana Chawla, graduated from Tagore School, Karnal, India, in 1976 and received a bachelor`s degree in aeronautical engineering from India`s Punjab Engineering College in 1982.

She moved to the United States to go to graduate school at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she received a master's degree in aerospace engineering in 1984. Then, she moved to Boulder, Colo., to pursue a doctorate in aerospace engineering, which she received in 1988.

Her career with NASA began in 1988 when she went to work for the Ames Research Center in California. Chawla's work at Ames centered on powered-lift computational fluid dynamics, which involves aircraft like the Harrier.After a brief career outside NASA, she returned as an astronaut candidate in December 1994.

Her first flight was STS-87, the fourth U.S Microgravity Payload flight, on Space Shuttle Columbia from November 19 to December 5, 1997.

She returned to space on January 16, 2003, aboard Columbia for a 16-day research flight. The STS-107 crew conducted more than 80 experiments.Chawla and her six STS-107 crewmates perished February 1, 2003, over Texas as Columbia was re-entering Earth`s atmosphere.