Sirisha Bandla, The Indian-American Astronaut Flying to Space with Richard Branson

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Meet Sirisha Bandla, the Indian-American Astronaut flying to Space Aboard the Virgin Galactic flight

While Indians are conquering milestones across the world map of excellence, Sirisha Bandla is all set to take things higher. Sirisha Bandla will fly to space on July 11 with the English business magnate, Richard Branson in Virgin Galactic’ VSS Unity. It will be taking off from New Mexico. She is all set to become the second Indian-born woman to shuttle into space after Kalpana Chawla. Here’s everything you need to know about Sirish Bandla and her space journey that will be written in the pages of history! 

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Who is Sirisha Bandla? 

Sirisha Bandla was born in India and brought up in Houston, Texas. She will be the fourth Indian to fly into space. The other two Indians who traveled into space in the past were Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Lyn Williams. Sirisha Bandla comes from a family with a science background. She was born in the small city of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. Her father, Muralidhar Bandla, is an agriculture scientist who relocated to the United States in search of greater opportunities. He is currently working with the US Embassy in India.

Sirisha Bandla is a 34-year-old aeronautical engineer who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University. She completed her Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University. In 2015, Sirisha Bandla started working at Virgin Galactic and currently holds the position of vice president of government affairs and research operations at the organization. Before working at Virgin Galactic, she worked as an aerospace engineer based in Texas.  After which, she worked in space policy at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), an industry association of commercial spaceflight companies where she was the associate director. Sirisha Bandla also served as a mechanical engineer at L-3 Communications. Apart from this, she was also associated with the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), the region’s oldest and biggest Indo-American organization. Sirisha Bandla received the Youth Star Award from TANA.

Credits: Space Generation

Also Read: Here’s What You Need to Know about Jeff Bezos’ Trip to Space!

About the Space Trip

The billionaire entrepreneur, investor, and author Richard Branson is ready to embark on a space trip on the test flight of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc scheduled on July 11. His space tourism firm unveiled this news on July 1. The Virgin Galactic mission with Richard Branson will blast off nine days ahead of the departure of Jeff Bezos’ space trip.

A successful flight with Richard Branson on board will mark a pivotal milestone towards the new era of private commercial space travel. It would also mean that Richard Branson would travel past the Earth’s atmosphere before his fellow aspiring billionaire astronaut Jeff Bezos, who is the founder of a rival space tourism venture, Blue Origin.

In the intro video by Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson said that he will be evaluating the customer spaceflight experience. He also expressed that as the founder of the company, he is proud of the crew by his side. “This July our dream will become a reality and we are excited to share it with you all” he said. Branson has also left people wondering about his announcement when he returns. 

“When we return from space, I will announce something very exciting to give more people the chance to become an astronaut. Because space belongs to us all. So watch this space” he said. 

Also Read: How to Become a Space Scientist in ISRO?

Bandla’s Role in the Space Journey 

Sirisha Bandla will be on the six-member space crew playing the significant role of a researcher.  Along with her, there will be one more woman crew member on the trip, Beth Moses, who is the Chief Astronaut Instructor and Interiors Program Manager for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo program. Moses is also a commercial astronaut. One of the other members on the crew is Colin Bennett, the lead operations engineer at Virgin Galactic. Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci will pilot the spacecraft.

Sirisha Bandla is enthralled to be a part of this space journey. “I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of the amazing crew of #Unity22 and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all,” she said in a tweet on July 2.”

In another tweet, Sirisha Bandla expressed that she was overwhelmed by the love showered on her.  She shared, “I really didn’t need to tweet this since my friends flooded the feed yesterday with it. I was overwhelmed (in a good way!) by messages of love, unrecognizable capital text, and positivity yesterday. Slowly working my way through them…one platform at a time!” 

Andhra Pradesh’s former Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, has also tweeted about Sirisha Bandla, “Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle.”

Here’s all you needed to know about this incredible mission by Virgin Galactic and our very own Sirisha Bandla who has made the country proud. We wish Sirisha all the best for her space odyssey! For more such informative content, stay connected to Leverage Edu and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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