Today we remember a brave soul, immortal daughter of India, Kalpana Chawla on her 15th death anniversary.
She and her six crew-mates perished Feb. 1, 2003, over Texas as Space shuttle Columbia was re-entering Earth's atmosphere.
She was a dreamer who dreamed of reaching to the stars and by real hard work and patience made it true!!
In a pre-flight interview of fateful mission Columbia (STS107) she was asked about her journey from small town in India named Karnal (Haryana) to NASA.
She answered this question mentioning about her high school days. She said..
“When I was going to high school back in India, growing up, I think I was very lucky that we lived in a town which is a very small town and one of a handful of towns at that time which had 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 us a ride in the Pushpak and a glider that the flying club had."
Flying became her passion from that time and she studied hard to achieve her goal. She also mentioned about how incredible work of J.R.D. Tata in this field inspired her.
In the same interview she answered another question about from where she got inspiration...and what she said is really important to remember in our daily life.
She said, "I think inspiration and tied with it is motivation. For me, definitely, it comes every day from people in all walks of life. It's easy for me to be motivated and inspired by seeing somebody who just goes all out to do something. In general, I would say I've been inspired by explorers. Different times during my life I've read books. When I read about these people, I think the one thing that just stands out is their perseverance in how they carried out what they wished to carry out."
As a Mission specialist of Columbia she was deeply involved in many research experiments. We can get more technical information about this on NASA website. This was her second space flight. In total , she spent 31 days 14 hours 54 minutes in space.
In a memorial service on Feb. 4, 2003, Astronaut Office Chief Kent Rominger said, "Kalpana, or K.C. to her friends, was admired personally for her extraordinary kindness and technically for her strive for perfection".
Letter from her family reads the feelings we all have for her as proud Indians, "In Kalpana, God gave us a beautiful soul whose grit, determination and humour earned her magnificent success that she carried with humility and, whenever possible, anonymity.
As so many others, we will always have Kalpana in our hearts. We love and miss her very deeply, but are thankful that her time with us has given inspiration to so many."
All the information above is taken from articles published by NASA Link01 | Link02