On February 1, 2003 a fatal incident took away the life of one of the shining stars – Kalpana Chawla. On her 55th birth anniversary, we are going to take a walk down the memory lane. If the Space Shuttle Columbia did not crash in the sky, Kalpana would have kept on adding to her achievements.


In the year 1962, on March 17, Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal, Haryana. Chawla went on to achieve her bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh in 1982. After that, she moved to the US for higher studies in the same year.


Chawla completed her Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984. In 1988 she started working with the NASA, Ames Research Center. In 1997, she became the first Indian woman to fly to the space on Space Shuttle Columbia STS-87.


On February 1, 2003 she boarded the ill-fated Space Shuttle Columbia STS – 107 which crashed and took her life along with six other astronauts.


Here’s a video which shows how Space Shuttle Columbia STS – 107 crashed: