Kalpana Chawla is a stellar example of dust to stardust in the truest sense of the phrase! She was born and brought up in small-town India in a struggling middle-class family. But all praise to her parents who did what genuine parents do — launch their children to the stars! Her father was no big-shot businessman or an heir to an industrial empire. Yet he did not wince when the time came to send his youngest child to the US. The rest is history… and what a history!
Kalpana Chawla made all of us proud here in India when she flew into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-87) in 1997. Till that time we had just Sq.Ldr. Rakesh Sharma (1984) to boast of as space travellers. Kalpana became the inspiration and role model for Indian youth, especially girls, to have the courage to dream and then to aspire to that dream.
It was on her second mission STS-107 (also on board Space Shuttle Columbia) that Kalpana and her fellow-astronauts all became legend.
Rest in peace, Kalpana!
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