On 10th death anniversary, school remembers alumna Kalpana Chawla

Karnal (Haryana), Feb 1: From being a shy girl from this small town in Haryana to reaching out to the stars by becoming an astronaut – the life and times of NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla were recounted Friday as her school remembered its most famous alumna on her 10th death anniversary.

Faculty members, students and staff of the Tagore Bal Niketan School here and local residents paid their tributes to Kalpana Chawla to mark the occasion.

Born in Karnal, 130 km from Chandigarh, Chawla studied at the school and became the first woman of Indian-origin to go into space aboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) re-usable spacecraft, Columbia, in 1997.

The space scientist, who did her engineering degree in aeronautical engineering from Chandigarh’s Punjab Engineering College (PEC), was chosen by NASA for her second space mission in January 2003.

It was during the return journey, once again in spacecraft Columbia, that the flight disintegrated while re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere Feb 1, 2003. All seven astronauts on the flight perished in the disaster.

Addressing children at the school, legislator Sumita Singh said they could also bring laurels to the country with will power and working hard like Chawla.

The state government is setting up a Rs.650 crore medical college and hospital here named after Kalpana Chawla.

A planetarium has also been set up in her name in Kurukshetra town, 40 km from here.

IANS