Kalpana Chawla KALPANA CHAWLA
The first indian woman in space
Kalpana Chawla grew up in Karnal in Haryana, with dreams of being among the stars. With razor-sharp intellect, determination and hard work, she turned her dreams to reality and became the first woman astronaut from India. Passionate about flying, Kalpana never allowed any hurdles to come in the way of charting a challenging career for herself. The journey from Karnal to Chandigarh to America was long and hard, but Kalpana soon reached her goal of becoming an aerospace engineer. As she said, "I never thought while pursuing my studies, or doing anything else, about being a woman, or a person from a small city, or a different country. I pretty much had my dreams, like anybody else, and I followed them."
�Considered to be an outstanding engineer by her peers at NASA in USA, Kalpana kept strong ties with India and remained a simple, fun loving person deeply concerned about the environment. She found passion and true inspiration while soaring through the skies, high above the earth. "Religion is something which gives you peace of mind," she said. "And to me flying brings tremendous peace and satisfaction. So flying is my religion." Kalpana met her end on the morning of February 1, 2003 after the Columbia space shuttle exploded during re-entry over Texas.
She always reached out to the stars, she went there and beyond. Hers is a story of unusual courage, ambition and achievement that will inspire young people for all time to come.