NASA’s Spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla
Northrop Grumman named its next spacecraft to the International space station (ISS) after the late Indian descent astronaut, Dr. Kalpana Chawla,
The spacecraft was named “S.S. Kalpana Chawla,” to commemorate the life of the mission specialist who died with her six crewmates aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. The news was announced on Wednesday, September 9, by Northrop Grumman.
“It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Chawla was selected in honor of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” Northrop Grumman stated.
India’s first female astronaut
Kalpana Chawla, born on July 1, 1961, was India’s first female astronaut and the first Indian origin female astronaut who got an opportunity to fly into space. As a child, she always knew that she wanted to become an astronaut. Her inspiration was her father, who used to take her to plane rides. She was then inspired by watching the flying planes and decided to pursue her career in aerospace engineering.
In 1988, she joined NASA and made her first flight in STS-87, the fourth US Microgravity Payload flight. It took off from Columbia on November 19, 1997. Her second flight was on January 16, 2003- the STS-107 that unfortunately met with an accident.
Successful Launch on October 3rd
The spacecraft comes under the category of the Cygnus space crafts. It is a resupply ship for the International Space Station. The S.S. Kalpana Chawla spacecraft will deliver approximately 3 629 kilograms of cargo to the Space Station. The spacecraft is scheduled for its liftoff on Septemeber 29. According to a report, “It will be launched into its orbit from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Wallops Island, Virginia, United States.”
Upon returning, it will also perform a vital experiment called the Spacecraft Fire Experiment- V (Saffire- V) that will study the “behaviour of large scale fires in microgravity.” Following the investigation, the spacecraft will perform a safe and destructive reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere upon the Pacific Ocean.
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