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Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962[2][a] February 1, 2003) was born in Karnal, India. She was the first IndianAmerican astronaut[3] and first Indian woman in space.[4] She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a
mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members
killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.[5]

Early life
Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal, India. She completed her earlier schooling at Tagore Baal Niketan Senior
Secondary School, Karnal and completed her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering at
Punjab Engineering College at Chandigarh in 1982. She moved to the United States in 1982 where she
obtained a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in
1984.[6] Determined to become an astronaut even in the face of the Challenger disaster, Chawla went on to earn
a second Masters in 1986 and a PhD[7] in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado at

In 1988, she began working at the NASA Ames Research Center as Vice President of Overset Methods, Inc.
where she did Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing concepts.
Chawla held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for
single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders.[9]
Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps.[2] She
joined the Corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1996. She spoke the following words
while traveling in the weightlessness of space, "You are just your intelligence". She had traveled 10.67 million
km, as many as 252 times around the Earth.
Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space
Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly
in space, following cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma who flew in 1984 on the Soyuz T-11. On her first mission,
Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours in space.[8]
During STS-87, she was responsible for deploying the Spartan Satellite which malfunctioned, necessitating a

spacewalk by Winston Scott and Takao Doi to capture the satellite. A five-month NASA investigation fully
exonerated Chawla by identifying errors in software interfaces and the defined procedures of flight crew and
ground control.
After the completion of STS-87 post-flight activities, Chawla was assigned to technical positions in the
astronaut office to work on the space station, her performance in which was recognized with a special award
from her peers.
In 2000 she was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. This mission was repeatedly
delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems such as the July 2002 discovery of cracks in the
shuttle engine flow liners. On January 16, 2003, Chawla finally returned to space aboard Columbia on the illfated STS-107 mission. Chawla's responsibilities included the microgravity experiments, for which the crew
conducted nearly 80 experiments studying earth and space science, advanced technology development, and
astronaut health and safety.

Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster which occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space
Shuttle disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, with the loss of all seven crew
members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.[10]
Ravish Malhotra

Ravish Malhotra (Punjabi: ; born on 25 December 1943 in Lahore (now in Pakistan)) is a

retired Air Commodore of the Indian Air Force.
He became an Air Force test pilot, later stationed at the test center in Bangalore. He was also the Air Officer
Commanding of Hindon Air Force Station near Delhi.

In 1982, he was chosen to train for spaceflight in the Soviet Union's Intercosmos program. Malhotra served as
backup for Rakesh Sharma on the Soyuz T-11 mission which launched the first Indian citizen into space, but
unfortunately himself never went to space. Malhotra was awarded the Kirti Chakra in 1984.
Malhotra is the Co-Founder & Chief Mentor of the aerospace division of Dynamatic Technologies.
Background* Air Cmdr. Ravish Malhotra serves as the Chief Mentor of Dynamatic-Oldland Aerospace, a
division of Dynamatic Technologies Limited and served as its Chief Operating Officer and SBU Head of
Dynamic Aerospace. Air Cmdr. Malhotra joined the Indian Air Force and has a distinguished career in the
Indian Air Force for over 30 years. He served as a member of the Indo-Soviet Space Mission in 1984 as part of
the back up team and spent 2 years in Star City outside Moscow. He is also a qualified flying instructor and has
been training pilots for the Air Force. He is heading a team of over 150 people who are working on the Su-30
programme as well as some of the indigenous projects like the Pilot less Target Aircraft and the new HAL Jet
Trainer. Air Cmdr. Malhotra graduated from the USAF Test Pilots School, Edwards AFB in 1974.

Rakesh Sharma

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, AC, Hero of the Soviet Union, (born 13
January 1949) is a former Indian Air Force test pilot who flew aboard Soyuz T-11
as part of the Intercosmos programe. Sharma was the first Indian to travel in
space.[1][2] Life
Rakesh Sharma was a test pilot in the IAF. Rakesh swiftly progressed through many levels and in 1984 he was
appointed as the Squadron Leader and pilot of the Indian Air Force.[3] He was selected on 20 September 1982
to become a cosmonaut and go into space as part of a joint programe between the Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) and the Soviet Intercosmos space program.[4]
In 1984 he became the first citizen of India to go into space when he flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11
blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic on 2 April 1984. The Soyuz T-11
docked and transferred the three member Soviet-Indian international crew which also included the Ship's
Commander Y.V. Malyshev and Flight Engineer G.M. Strekalov (USSR) to the Salyut 7 Orbital Station. He
spent 7 days 21 hours and 40 minutes aboard the Salyut 7 during which his team conducted scientific and
technical studies which included 43 experimental sessions. His work was mainly in the fields of bio-medicine
and remote sensing.[4]
The crew held a joint television news conference with officials in Moscow and then Indian Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi. Saare Jahan Se Achcha (the best in the world), said Sharma when Indira Gandhi asked him how
India looked from outer space. India became the 14th nation to send a man to outer space.[4]
He retired with the rank of Wing Commander. He joined the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in 1987 and
served as Chief Test Pilot in the HAL Nashik Division until 1992, before moving on to Bangalore to work as
the Chief Test Pilot of HAL. He was also associated with the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas. He lives at Coonoor
with his wife Madhu Sharma.[4]

He was conferred with the honour of Hero of Soviet Union upon his return from space. The Government of
India conferred its highest gallantry award (during peace time), the Ashoka Chakra on him and the other two
Soviet members of his mission, Malyshev and Strekalov.[4]

Sunita Williams

Sunita Lyn "Suni" Williams ne Pandya [1] (born September 19, 1965) is an American former astronaut and
United States Navy officer. She holds the records for longest single space flight by a woman (195 days),[2] total
spacewalks by a woman (seven), and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes).[3][4]
Williams was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and Expedition 15. In
2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33.

Ancestry and early life

Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, to Indian American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene
American Ursuline Bonnie Pandya (ne Zalokar), who have three children and reside in Falmouth,
Massachusetts. Sunita is the youngest of three siblings, her brother Jay Thomas is four years older and her
sister Dina Anna is three years older.
Williams paternal ancestry is from Jhulasan, Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, while her maternal great
grandmother Mary Bohinc (originally Marija Bohinjec), born 5 September 1890 in Lee, immigrated to
America as an eleven year old girl with her mother, an 1891 Slovene emigrant Ursula Bohinc ne Strajhar.[5][6]
Williams graduated from Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1983. She received a Bachelor
of Science degree in Physical science from the United States Naval Academy in 1987, and a Master of Science
degree in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.[2]

Military career
Williams was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy in May 1987. After a six-month temporary
assignment at the Naval Coastal System Command, she was designated a Basic Diving Officer. She next
reported to the Naval Air Training Command, where she was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989. She
received initial H-46 Sea Knight training in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 (HC-3), and was then
assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 (HC-8) in Norfolk, Virginia, with which she made overseas
deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation
Provide Comfort. In September 1992, she was the Officer-in-Charge of an H-46 detachment sent to Miami,
Florida, for Hurricane Andrew relief operations aboard the USS Sylvania. In January 1993, Williams began
training at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. She graduated in December, and was assigned to the Rotary Wing
Aircraft Test Directorate as an H-46 Project Officer and V-22 chase pilot in the T-2. Later, she was assigned as
the squadron Safety Officer and flew test flights in the SH-60B/F, UH-1, AH-1W, SH-2, VH-3, H-46, CH-53,
and the H-57. In December 1995, she went back to the Naval Test Pilot School as an instructor in the Rotary
Wing Department and as the school's Safety Officer. There she flew the UH-60, OH-6, and the OH-58. She
then went to the USS Saipan as the Aircraft Handler and the Assistant Air Boss. Williams was deployed on the
Saipan in June 1998 when she was selected by NASA for the astronaut program.[2]
She has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 aircraft types.[2]