Essay On Kalpana Chawla In 500 Words

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Essay on Kalpana Chawla

Essay on Kalpana Chawla: Dreams know no boundaries. It only knows passion and energy to make them true. But what if those boundaries have certain limits? Can it be overcome? One such example of determination and resilience is Kalpana Chawla. She was a woman with an endless love of space who crossed every social-conservative boundary that tried to pull her leg back to old traditions and thoughts. She set an example for all humans about how and through what correct approach one should follow their passion for real.

Also Read: The Quest of Kalpana Chawla

Early Life, Education and Career

Kalpana started her school education at Tagore Baal Niketan Senior Secondary School, Karnal. She was a self-motivated girl inspired to fly by a local flying club. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Technical College in India in 1982. Following her Bachelor’s degree, she pursued a Master’s in Aeronautical Technology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She later completed her PhD in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1988.

After completing her academics, she started rendering her powered-lift computational fluid dynamics services at Ames Research Center at NASA. Later, in 1993, she joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, as Vice President and Research Scientist. Here, she was a responsible authority for aerodynamic optimization. In 1994, her career journey took a turn, and she joined NASA and reported to Johnson Space Center on 15 March as an astronaut candidate in the 15th Group of Astronauts.

Her childhood dream of launching into space was successfully fulfilled in 1997 when she became one of the important members of six astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-87. As her first space mission, she finished 252 orbits of the Earth in 15 days and 16 hours, and with this, she became the first Indian woman to enter space.

Also Read: How to Become an Astronaut Abroad?

Source: Brut India

Tragic End

With the grand mission success of STS-87, Kalpana Chawla was again selected for a second space mission in the year 2000 as a leader of team STS-107. After several delays, the mission was relaunched in 2003. 

Of the 16-day trip, 80 trials were done. The space flight completed more than 80 trials, but unfortunately, while launching, the briefcase-sized piece of insulation broke off, severely harming the shuttle’s wing’s thermal defence system. Thus, when the space shuttle entered the atmosphere, the barrier-shielded sheet heated and blasted due to rushed heated gas.

All of the seven crew members were sadly killed on the space shuttle journey, including Kalpana Chawla, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Ilan Ramon, David Brown, William McCool, and Michael Anderson.

Kalpana’s love for space could be understood through this statement: “When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system”, which she expressed before her first flight. Her words left an indelible mark on every young mind who aspires to become an astronaut

Also Read: First Indian Woman to Go to Space

List of Awards Won By Kalpana Chawla

Furthermore, let us walk through some of the prestigious awards won by Kalpana Chawla while we are exploring an essay on Kalpana Chawla.

  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal awarded posthumously for her outstanding service to the space program.
  • Congressional Space Medal for Honor, awarded posthumously for extraordinary achievements in space. 
  • NASA Space Flight Medal for her participation in space flights, including Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • Punjab Government Award in recognition of her achievement in space exploration.
  • Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award for inspiring women in the space industry. 

Also Read: List of Aerospace Engineering Scholarships

List of Achievements

While you are navigating through an essay on Kalpana Chawla, you can also explore a list of her achievements:

  • Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian-origin woman who landed in space.
  • She successfully pursued Aeronautical engineering and a Master’s degree in Aerospace. Moreover, she had completed her PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado.
  • She participated in STS-87 in 1997 and STS-107 in the 2003 space shuttle mission.
  • Kalpana Chawla was an active participant in scientific experiments during spaceflights.
  • An inspirational model for women in STEM courses all around the world.

Also Read: Kalpana Chawla Scholarship 2023-24: Amount, Last Date, Apply Online


Q1. How many spacecraft missions did Kalpana Chawla achieve?

Ans: Kalpana Chawla achieved two significant missions, STS-87 and STS-107.

Q2. What was Kalpana Chawala’s educational background?

Ans: During her initial days, Kalpana Chawla was an Aeronautical Engineer. Later, she completed her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.

Q3. What tough times did Kalpana Chawla face while pursuing her dream?

Ans: Kalpana Chawla belonged to a conservative society. But her passion was remarkable for breaking all traditional barriers. 

Q4. What is the name of the biography of Kalpana Chawla?

Ans: The name of Kalpana Chawla’s biography is The Edge of Time, and Jean-Pierre Harrison wrote it.

Q5. Which Indian-origin woman first flew in space after Rakesh Sharma?

Ans: Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian-born woman to fly into space after astronaut Rakesh Sharma.

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