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Kalpana Chawla's space dream did India proud
NDTV ^ | February 1, 2003 | NDTV Correspondent

Posted on 02/01/2003 10:49:44 AM PST by Gamecock

Kalpana Chawla's space dream did India proud

NDTV Correspondent

Saturday, February 1, 2003 (Washington, New Delhi):

Kalpana Chawla, who died in the Columbia space shuttle mishap along with six others, had done India proud when she embarked on her first space mission on November 19, 1997.

The Karnal-born Chawla, the first Indian American astronaut, began her career at the Ames Research Center at NASA in 1988.

A graduate in aeronautical engineering from the Punjab Engineering College she began work at the Ames in the area of fluid dynamics.

Following her successful tenure at the Ames, Chawla in 1993 joined the Overset Methods Inc in California as vice president and a research scientist in charge of simulating various body functions for future space missions.

NASA selected Chawla as an astronaut candidate in 1994 and she joined the 15th group of astronauts in March 1995.

After a year of training and evaluation, Chawla was assigned as a crew representative to work on technical issues for NASA's Astronaut Office Extra Vehicular Activities, Robotics, dealing in space walks

.

She was instrumental in the testing space control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory.

Chawla's received recognition here and was assigned as mission specialist and prime robotic arm operator on the STS-87 and was involved in the manual capture of an orbiting satellite.

Pall of gloom

Chawla's relatives in New Delhi including her brother went into a state of shock after the hearing news.

"We are not in a position to say anything. We are too shocked," one of the relatives said when asked about her brother Sanjay Chawla's whereabouts.

Sanjay had gone to Kennedy Space Centre in Florida to witness the launch in what was perhaps his last meeting with his sibling.

Irreparable loss

Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has expressed deep shock at the crash of the Columbia.

"I am deeply shocked at the tragedy both as a physicist and the Minister for Science and Technology. This is very unfortunate that an otherwise successful mission met with an accident just a few minutes before landing," Dr Joshi said.

Describing Chawla as a worthy daughter of India, he said, "For India it is an irreparable loss. I share the grief with every fellow countryman".

The Minister also said there was a need for thorough investigation so that such accidents do not occur in the future.

Tragic incident

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Kasturirangan has described the incident as tragic.

"It is a tragic development for the entire space community as well as the country,'' Kasturirangan told NDTV.

''Though I did not know Kalpana Chawla personally, I consider her achievement, as being the first Indian woman to enter space on board the Space shuttle Columbia, as a big achievement for India.'' he said.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: chawla; columbia; columbiatragedy; feb12003; india; nasa; shuttle; spaceshuttle; sts107
Interesting how we hardly notice a routine shuttle flights, but in other countries, their first astronaut is a great source of national pride.

May God comfort their souls and the hearts of those left behind.

1 posted on 02/01/2003 10:49:44 AM PST by Gamecock
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To: Gamecock
I'm not from India but she did me proud as well.
2 posted on 02/01/2003 10:55:51 AM PST by Joe_October (Freep on Brother)
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To: Gamecock
I am sorry for India's loss.
3 posted on 02/01/2003 10:56:31 AM PST by tictoc
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To: Joe_October
Ditto!
4 posted on 02/01/2003 10:59:39 AM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: Gamecock
...but in other countries, their first astronaut is a great source of national pride.

Yes. My neighbors are from India and are deeply saddened by this tragedy, but are at the same time proud of this young woman. So am I.

And proud that such a place as America exists, that encourages anyone who dares to become the best that they can be.

God bless them all.

5 posted on 02/01/2003 11:06:31 AM PST by elbucko
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To: elbucko
Here's my tribute. I've had this song going in my head for at least a month, now, I suspect, prophetically. It's the theme song from the new Enterprise, "Faith of the Heart".http://scifi.myrealm.co.uk/audio/enterprise2.mp3
6 posted on 02/01/2003 11:16:40 AM PST by CalvaryJohn
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To: Gamecock
I was fortunate enough to work with her several years ago. It really brought this tragedy to a personal level for me, having known and admired her.
7 posted on 02/01/2003 11:20:17 AM PST by Aeronaut (Your message imprinted here)
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To: swarthyguy
Ping.
8 posted on 02/01/2003 11:22:34 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: Gamecock
Requiem for a Science Astronaut...bump
9 posted on 02/01/2003 11:27:31 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: Gamecock
Fox was listing the astronauts and couldn't resist mentioning that she made a number of mistakes on her only other space mission.. I hate news people sometimes..
10 posted on 02/01/2003 11:54:22 AM PST by a_Turk
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To: Gamecock
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but for a long time now I've wondered why the U.S. is so willing to put foreign nationals aboard these flights.

I can understand why Russians would be involved, since they had a space program that was comparable to ours. But including an Indian and an Israeli really seems excessive.

11 posted on 02/01/2003 11:56:19 AM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: Aeronaut
I was fortunate enough to work with her several years ago. It really brought this tragedy to a personal level for me, having known and admired her.

She sounds like a delightful person to have known. She certainly had an impressive amount of achievements for a life cut short.

12 posted on 02/01/2003 11:57:39 AM PST by xJones
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To: Gamecock

13 posted on 02/01/2003 11:58:22 AM PST by antaresequity
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To: Alberta's Child
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but for a long time now I've wondered why the U.S. is so willing to put foreign nationals aboard these flights.

Not an insensitive question - the US regularly puts foreign astronauts on board because it's a cheap method of diplomacy and engendering good feelings about the US around the world. Basically, it's the same reason that they put John Glenn on a shuttle - to make folks feel warm and fuzzy about the space program and the US. And, IMO, there's nothing wrong with PR, so long as it doesn't interfere with the primary mission of the space program, research and exploration.

Although, strictly speaking, that's not the case with this lady, as I understand that she was a naturalized US citizen, and not a foreign national as was the Israeli fellow....

14 posted on 02/01/2003 12:04:16 PM PST by general_re
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To: Alberta's Child
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but for a long time now I've wondered why the U.S. is so willing to put foreign nationals aboard these flights.

Kalpana Chawla is an American. Not a foreigner.

15 posted on 02/01/2003 12:05:50 PM PST by SamAdams76 ('Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens')
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To: Alberta's Child
She was a United States astronaut and U.S. citizen, who happened to grow up in India. She was not an "Indian astronaut".
16 posted on 02/01/2003 12:06:54 PM PST by dagnabbit
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To: Alberta's Child
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but for a long time now I've wondered why the U.S. is so willing to put foreign nationals aboard these flights.

I can understand why Russians would be involved, since they had a space program that was comparable to ours. But including an Indian and an Israeli really seems excessive.

Dr. Chawla wasn't here on an exchange program. She was an American of Indian origin. Read the bio again.

17 posted on 02/01/2003 12:07:02 PM PST by jimfree
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: All
I stand corrected. In all the news items today I haven't seen any specific reference to her being a U.S. citizen. In fact, all of the comments they're posting are from relatives in India.
19 posted on 02/01/2003 12:25:31 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: a_Turk
Fox was listing the astronauts and couldn't resist mentioning that she made a number of mistakes on her only other space mission.. I hate news people sometimes..

I was watching FNC a bit later, and the anchor apologised for that. He said he'd been reading the NASA bio aloud, without thinking about it until the words were out of his mouth.

20 posted on 02/01/2003 12:27:23 PM PST by NovemberCharlie
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To: NovemberCharlie
And when they DO think, watch out..
21 posted on 02/01/2003 12:32:36 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: Alberta's Child
I stand corrected.

Class act - most people these days aren't big enough to admit such a thing. Don't let it bother you - everyone's speculating about everything right now, including who these people on the crew were. It's going to be a while before we have anything more than just speculation.

22 posted on 02/01/2003 12:34:06 PM PST by general_re
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To: onebox
Ditto! Shiva Om, Kalpana!
24 posted on 02/01/2003 1:19:51 PM PST by BossLady
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To: a_Turk
Fox was listing the astronauts and couldn't resist mentioning that she made a number of mistakes on her only other space mission.. I hate news people sometimes..

An aeronautic disaster occurs, and you're angry that newsmen mentioned that one of the crew members had a history of screwing up? Don't let the facts get in the way of your feelings.

25 posted on 02/01/2003 2:26:51 PM PST by mrustow
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To: Gamecock
RIP
26 posted on 02/01/2003 2:30:13 PM PST by Aaron_A
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To: antaresequity
Oh, man, she doesn't look 41. She looks more like 25.

The God of us all, whatever his name be called, holds her and her family in his hands.
27 posted on 02/01/2003 2:33:45 PM PST by Xenalyte
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To: mrustow
An aeronautic disaster occurs, and you're angry that newsmen mentioned that one of the crew members had a history of screwing up?

"Remember the Maine!"

28 posted on 02/01/2003 3:23:29 PM PST by Oztrich Boy
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To: Aeronaut
I am so sorry......
29 posted on 02/01/2003 3:49:22 PM PST by Gamecock (The friendship of the French is like their wine, exquisite, but of short duration.)
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To: Alberta's Child; general_re
Alberta's Child ...don't mean to sound insensitive, general_re Not an insensitive question

True. But the fact of the matter is, it does provide for great diplomacy. I frequently have foriegn officers in the military courses I run. They are truly in awe of what America is, once they are here and get to know us. Most often they are the best and the brightest, and are the future leaders in their militaries. It's best that they have positive experiences and form their opinions here, than have them shaped by the propoganda that they are all to often fed.

30 posted on 02/01/2003 4:00:18 PM PST by Gamecock (The friendship of the French is like their wine, exquisite, but of short duration.)
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To: Gamecock
You raise an excellent point, but in my experience these people are already the "cream of the crop" and don't need much convicning about what America is all about. For many of them (particularly in India, where there is a rigid caste system), an education at British-style boarding schools is considered standard.
31 posted on 02/01/2003 4:05:55 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: a_Turk
Her background on another mission is not exactly irrelevant here.

Former astronaut Richard Haucke was on NBC this afternoon, and one of the things he pointed out was that NASA made every attempt to get well-rounded people into the space program. It made life easier if someone (a non-military crew member) who was a research scientist in a particular area could also operate some of the spacecraft's equipment if needed.

32 posted on 02/01/2003 4:08:28 PM PST by Alberta's Child
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To: Alberta's Child
I agree, but we are supposed to notice that...
33 posted on 02/01/2003 4:13:40 PM PST by Under the Radar
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To: Alberta's Child
I agree, but we aren't supposed to notice that...
34 posted on 02/01/2003 4:13:51 PM PST by Under the Radar
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To: Gamecock
Thanks.
35 posted on 02/01/2003 4:46:49 PM PST by Aeronaut (Your message imprinted here)
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To: Alberta's Child
Petty blame game, not beneath most as usual. Facts will reveal the real story.
36 posted on 02/01/2003 5:39:46 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: Gamecock
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2716961.stm
37 posted on 02/01/2003 9:04:15 PM PST by Aaron_A
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To: Gamecock
I've represented several Indian women and this death, this life will do a lot for the status of women in this country. God bless her.
38 posted on 02/01/2003 9:06:20 PM PST by Mercat
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To: Gamecock
Describing Chawla as a worthy daughter of India, he said, "For India it is an irreparable loss. I share the grief with every fellow countryman".

The Minister also said there was a need for thorough investigation so that such accidents do not occur in the future.

Accidents happen. Space travel is inherently dangerous. Indians will continue to participate in the space program as astronauts with full knowledge of the danger. Besides, Indians have the advantage of being reborn immediately, so they shouldn't worry so much.

39 posted on 02/01/2003 9:11:07 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: Alberta's Child
Kalpana's relatives are all Indians . She can't change that. But she is a bonafide American citizen who has contributed to America as much as America has given to her -who was up there with others in Columbia because of her merit - to which of course her Indian family , her small Indian town and Indian education system were the contributing factors and focussing on them is only fair.
40 posted on 02/02/2003 11:00:41 PM PST by anu_shr
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