Remembering Kalpana Chawla on her 56th birth anniversary Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, a 41-year-old flight engineer and mission specialist for Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107, poses for a formal photograph March 8, 2002 in an unspecified location. Astronaut Chawla and her six other crew members are presumed dead after Space Shuttle Columbia broke up upon re-entry to earth February 1, 2003. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)
Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman in space, would have turned 56 today if she were alive. Chawla died following the fateful accident on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon its entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Chawla died along with six other astronauts. Chawla was born in Punjab and wanted to become an aerospace engineer. She was influenced by watching the planes from the local flying clubs. “Every once in a while, we’d ask my dad if we could get a ride in one of these planes. And, he did take us to the flying club and get…
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