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15 Years Of The Columbia Space Shuttle Tragedy: Remembering Kalpana Chawla

Posted by Rohit Dhyani
February 2, 2018

Her story is similar to fantasies. Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal, India and soon moved to the United States and started working at NASA. She walked into space and then merged with it.

Space Shuttle Columbia was just 16 minutes away from earth, when the explosion happened. The whole incident left the world stunned as the world lost seven astronauts.

There were two women among the seven astronauts, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla. Chawla became an example for young girls and women to venture into the field of science. This was Chawla’s second space mission.

The flag at the Kennedy space station in Florida was lowered to half-staff. Some debris of spacecraft dropped from the sky around Texas and Louisiana. It was an emotional time for NASA.

The Washington Post put the headline the next day, “Columbia Is Lost”. The New York Times gave special preference to Chawla in the next day’s edition. Amy Waldman had reported from Karnal and had done a special report about how people had gathered in her school to celebrate the landing, but the silence spread when the ship was destroyed.

The villager’s mourned and shouted, “Kalpana Chawla cannot die.”

If we look at it now, then maybe, Kalpana Chawla’s life and her work could bring a new energy and new ideas to millions of young girls.