Bon Voyage

949 Words Jul 26th, 2013 4 Pages
Bon Voyage

Introduction:
‘The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.’ - H W Longfellow

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, said Neil Armstrong, stepping on to the moon’s surface on 21st, July 1969.
Kalpana Chawla steeped into space, not once but twice. It proved to be a great leap for womankind especially for Indian woman. It was the bridge between the impossible and the possible. Kalpana said, “You can’t cross a great chasm in two short steps; it needs one big leap.”0

Birth: Kalpana Chawla was born on the 1stof July 1961 in Karnal, Haryana, into a middle class family,
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Then, followed her Doctorate of philosophy in Aerospace engineering from Colorado University in 1988.

Chawla, Different from Others: Raakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go into space, in the guest column of a cover story in ‘The Week’, featuring Kalpana Chawla, said, “Often I have been asked if, as a child, I had ever dreamt of going into space. I answered truthfully in the negative, explaining that India never had a manned space programme, and so dreaming about it would have been futile. Kalpana, on the other hand, was a small-town girl who dreamt big and had the self-belief to chase that dream. She chased it half way across the globe, caught up with it and then, lived it. That was the difference between us.”

Don Wilson, her thesis guide at the University of Texas, Arlington, recalls her as a “quiet and shy girl who was intimidated by her surroundings”. But this was not for long. She adapted well, showing a burning desire to be an astronaut. “She just refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. And she was also an amazingly good student,” he was to say later.
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Career: In 1988, Kalpana Chawla started work at NASA Ames Research Center. Meanwhile she married Jean-Pierre Harrison, a flight instructor, drawn towards him probably because of her fascination for flying. In 1993, she joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, as Vice President and Research Scientist. In December
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