The first Indian-American female astronaut to go to space.
Born in Karnal, India. When she was only 20 years old, after getting a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering, she moved to the US, where she earned a double master’s degree and a doctorate in aerospace engineering.
At 26, Chawla began working at NSA as a researcher of computational fluid dynamics, and then as a vice president and research scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems.
Two years later, she joined the NASA Astronaut Corps, and at age 36 she made her first air mission, making history as the first Indian origin woman and the second Indian person to fly in space.
In her second mission to space, in 2003, Chawla died with other six crew members when the space shuttle ‘Columbia’ broke up, an event known as the ‘Columbia Disaster’.
“Do something because you really want to do it. If you’re doing it just for the goal and don’t enjoy the path, then I think you’re cheating yourself”
Another Interesting Anecdote:
- As a child, Chawla liked to draw pictures of airplanes.
- Streets, institutions, universities, and scholarships, both in India and the US, have been named in her honor.
- An Indian satellite was named after her.