Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman to go to space. She was born in Haryana on March 17, 1962. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College at Chandigarh and then migrated to the US in 1982. She completed her Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1984 and went on to complete her doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.
She later joined NASA Ames Research Centre and was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1994. She made her first journey to space in 1997 on Space Shuttle Columbia. Her second space mission was in 2003 which was dedicated to science and research. Sadly, while entering earth’s atmosphere, the space shuttle disintegrated killing all the 7 crew members. The remains of Kalpana were cremated and scattered at National Park in Utah, US as per her wish. Kalpana was one among the most inspirational personalities especially for space enthusiasts in India.