It was on this same unfortunate day in 2003 that the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle disaster occurred, killing all seven crew members. The crew included the first Indian woman in space, Kalpana Chawla.
Born on 1st July 1961 in the north Indian state of Haryana, Chawla served as a mission specialist on the Columbia. She pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, a Master’s from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D from the University in Colorado.
She began work with the NASA Ames Research Center in 1988 and was selected by NASA in December 1994 as an astronaut candidate.
Since then, there was no looking back for Chawla. She was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honour, the NASA Space Flight Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal for her work.
Going against all odds and triumphing, Chawla has served as a role model for women across India and the world. Despite being born in a small town in India, she worked hard with perseverance and determination to reach where she did.
On this poignant day, here are a few quotes by her that will inspire you to achieve great heights.
- I would say if you have a dream, follow it. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a woman or from India or from wherever.
- Do something because you really want to do it. If you’re doing it just for the goal and don’t enjoy the path, then I think you’re cheating yourself.
- You are just your intelligence.
- Take good care of our fragile planet.
- The journey matters as much as the goal.
- The quickest way may not necessarily be the best.
- You must enjoy the journey because whether or not you get there, you must have fun on the way.
- The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.
We pay our deep respects to Kalpana Chawla and wish that her legacy would inspire millions in the years to come to achieve their dreams and beat all odds to succeed.1