February 1 marks the death anniversary of Kalpana Chawla, the first woman of Indian-origin to fly to space. She was one of the seven astronauts who died on board Space Shuttle Columbia after it disintegrated during its re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere. Chawla who was born in Karnal, Haryana in 1962 moved to the United States at the age of 20 and obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering two years later. On Kalpana Chawla’s 18th death anniversary, let us look at some lesser-known facts about her.
NASA dedicated a supercomputer to honour her memory
On May 12, 2004, American space agency NASA dedicated a supercomputer to honour the memory of Kalpana Chawla. The SGI Altix 300 supercomputer was used to deliver high-resolution ocean analysis in the framework of ECCO
Her mortal remains were cremated at Zion National Park
Chawla’s mortal remains were cremated and scattered at the Zion National Park in Utah, United States, as per her last wishes.
Graduated from Punjab Engineering College.
The first woman of Indian-origin to fly into space received her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College. Chawla moved to the United States at the age of 20 and obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering two years later.
Kalpana Chawla, the poet
Chawla had a keen interest in poetry as well as dancing while in school. As a child, she was fascinated by aeroplanes and flying and would go to local flying clubs with her father.
Several universities, scholarships named in her honour
Several universities, scholarships, and even streets have been named in his honour after her demise. In September, last year, US-based aerospace and defence company Northrop Grumman named its next spaceship after Chawla.
Source: Jargan English