Kalpana Chawla: The life of India's first female astronaut
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Kalpana Chawla: The life of India's first female astronaut

Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin to venture into space. She has ever since been regarded as one of the most inspirational women the world has ever seen and has looked up to. From a girl in asmall town in India to a NASA astronaut, and then to a tragic end, here's a look at the life of India's braveheart, Kalpana Chawla.

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Shreya Khanna16th Mar, 2016
A rare school picture of Kalpana Chawla

A rare school picture of Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana was the youngest of 4 siblings and completed her early schooling from Tagore Public School, Karnal. Kalpana wasn't like the other kids, she would pave her own way to success. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

A young Kalpana Chawla with her friends

A young Kalpana Chawla with her friends

In an interview, Kalpana's mother told the world how her daughter as a youngster wasn't like other girls. She would cut her own hair, learnt karate and would NEVER wear ironed clothes. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla as a student in Karnal

Kalpana Chawla as a student in Karnal

From a very young age, Kalpana had a huge interest in flying. She was completely in awe od India's first pilot J R D Tata, who she considered her role model. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla on a vacation

Kalpana Chawla on a vacation

She shared this dream of flying with her brother, and decided to enroll into an engineering college to make her dream come true. When she was a child, she was always fascinated by the world. She would make "huge, colorful charts and models depicting the sky and stars". Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla with friends

Kalpana Chawla with friends

This led her to enroll into the Punjab Engineering College in 1982, to obtain a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Needless to say, she topped her class and was also offered a job in her own college. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla with a group of friends

Kalpana Chawla with a group of friends

She then moved to the US, where she was accepted in the University of Texas for a Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1982. She obtained an MS in Aerospacce Engineering in 1984. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla with her husband Jean Pierre Harrison

Kalpana Chawla with her husband Jean Pierre Harrison

In 1988, she also went on to recieve a Doctorate from the University of Colorado. The same year, she married Jeane Pierre Harrison, who she first met the day she landed in the US. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla with her family

Kalpana Chawla with her family

Harrison was a flying instructor and introduced Chawla to scuba diving, hiking and flying expeditions. Kalpana only told her brother of her relationship, who ultimately helped her convince her parents to let her get married to him! And sure enough, they did agree. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla with friends and family

Kalpana Chawla with friends and family

After obtaining her PhD, Kalpana began working with NASA at the Ames Research Centre in the San Fransisco Bay area. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla in the space shuttle

Kalpana Chawla in the space shuttle

Not many know that soon after that she also took up work as a Vice President and a research scientist in Overset Methods, Inc. in Silicon Valley. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

An unseen picture of a young Kalpana Chawla

An unseen picture of a young Kalpana Chawla

She was chosen for NASA's astronaut programme in 1994 and was selected for a flight in 1996. During her time in space, she said the words, "You are just your intelligence." Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla stepping into the shuttle

Kalpana Chawla stepping into the shuttle

She began her first space mission in 1997 to become the first Indian woman and the second Indian person to fly in space. She was a part of a six-astronaut crew. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla and the rest of the crew

Kalpana Chawla and the rest of the crew

In 2000, she was selected for her second space flight which was delayed due to a number of reasons. She then went on to go back to space in 2003, when she boarded the Columbia in the STS-107 mission. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla's unseen interview

Kalpana Chawla's unseen interview

Chawla was responsible for microgravity experiments in space. 80 experiments were conducted by the crew in relations to the space and earth and advance science technology. They also ventured into astronaut health and safety. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

The crew of Columbia STS-107

The crew of Columbia STS-107

On February 1, 2003, the crew made its way abck to earth. Upon their entry into the Earth's atmosphere, 16 minutes prior to their landing the shuttle exploded into pieces, which led to the death of all 7 crew member including Kalpana Chawla. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Explosion of the Kalpana Chawla's Columbia space shuttle

Explosion of the Kalpana Chawla's Columbia space shuttle

The space shuttle apparently exploded above Texas due to a fault the cracked on the start of their second mission. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla: the astronaut

Kalpana Chawla: the astronaut

Kalpana Chawla's extraordinary life hasn't gone unnoticed after the ill-fated day of February 3, 2003. The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award by University of Colorado was renamed to Kalpana Chawla. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Kalpana Chawla fiddles with a camera

Kalpana Chawla fiddles with a camera

Back at home, Indians have made her an icon, with medical schools and even a planitarium named after her. In Jyotisar, Kurukshetra, the Government of Haryana built a planetarium named after her. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

Remnants of the Columbia STS-107 space shuttle

Remnants of the Columbia STS-107 space shuttle

Not long after her passing away, the India also named it's first weather satellite 'Kalpana-1" in her memory. The band Deep Purple also wrote a song called 'Contact Lost' in memory of the Columbia space tragedy. Image Courtesy: Image Procured via Google Search

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30 most badass women from history!

These influential women broke barriers and traditions to make a name for themselves. From those who excelled in their fields, to activists, icons and just those who shone through with their bravery, these women have made us believe that anything is possible. These women of power have wowed us and it's time to relive their stories and to be inspired. Take a look at their stories.

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Unknown facts about Irom Sharmila Chanu
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Unknown facts about Irom Sharmila Chanu

If you know of 'Malom Massacre' that happened in November 2000, there is no way you would not have heard of Irom Sharmila Tagore. The philosophical, thoughtful and determined crusader is on a fast unto death for the past 13 years demanding revoke of the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) 1958. Yet, it is quite unfortunate that still millions of people don't know about her fight. Flip through this album narrating parts of lesser known life.
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This album is dedicated to the women who managed to set records in their respective fields. Enjoy!!

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The Most Inspirational Sayings And Quotes Of President Barack Obama
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The Most Inspirational Sayings And Quotes Of President Barack Obama

Barack Obama has been a breath of fresh air for the US and the world for a number of reasons. Apart from being the first black President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama has also set in the country a number of values that have helped it grow along with the world. As he makes way to the last lap of his Presidency, here's looking at some of his best quotes that have helped us through the years...

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Airlift: Real story behind India's rescue mission during the Gulf War 1990

Airlift is soon to hit the theatres, but did you know about the real story behind the movie? Here's a look at how India carried out the biggest evacuation project during the Gulf War in 1990 in Kuwait, where it rescued 1,70,000 Indians.

Disclaimer: itimes does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information's, content or contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained on this website.
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NASA Rewind: 2016's Best Space Exploration Moments

2016 has been a big year for NASA. From making inroads into the solar systems' largest planet Jupiter to the successful 340-day human mission in space and discovering that the Red planet once had oxygen. It's been a truly incredible year for astronauts and scientists alike here are some of the highlights from this years space exploration. Disclaimer: itimes does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information's, content or contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained on this website.
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