US Spacecraft Named After Indian Mission Specialist

Written by: Gina Taranto

‘S.S. Kalpana Chawla’ will be the name of the next Cygnus capsule manufactured by Northrop Grumman, a global company that specializes in defense technology and aerospace in the US. The company will be naming its brand new capsule in loving memory of India-born Kalpana Chawla, the brave mission specialist who lost her life onboard the Columbia shuttle in 2003, together with 6 other members of the crew.

Honoring Kalpana Chawla's Contributions To The Spaceflight Fieldkalpana chawla

The Cygnus capsule is a commercial cargo spacecraft that will be used by the International Space Station and it has received the name of a fallen NASA astronaut who was born in India, Kalpana Chawla. Kalpana was also a pioneer when it comes to women born in India who have made it into outer space, so the cargo spacecraft taking her name has even greater importance for Indian astronauts. 

Kalpana sadly lost her life together with other six crew members while onboard on the Columbia shuttle Columbia almost two decades ago, in 2003. Unfortunately, tragedies like this are prone to happen whether because of human error or machine faults. Official launch dates get canceled or postponed because of various steps and testing phases not being completed on time, and so on. This could give some of you who are passionate about sports betting on special events the chance to make your own predictions and, who knows, scoop some wins. If you are passionate about space-themed Sport Betting India no deposit opportunities, you will most likely be able to find a bookie that will allow you to bet on whether a rocket, a satellite, or a space shuttle will safely launch into space or return home in one piece. You could find a popular bookie that will let you bet on whether will actually begin sending people on Mars in 2024, as planned. Many voices agree that this will not be possible, and there is a  variety of such wagers that you could be looking into.  

Kalpana Flew Twice Into Space 

Kalpana was a talented engineer who flew into space on two separate occasions. Her first mission was on the Space Shuttle Columbia six years prior to the mission that would tragically end her life. In 1997, onboard the Columbia shuttle, the Indian astronaut was responsible for supervising the mission and also for operating a robotic arm.

The second time she flew to space was on board STS-107, which was also the last flight of the Columbia Shuttle during its 2003 mission. Kalpana was sharing the shuttle with six other crew members and companions when their shuttle suddenly disintegrated over Texas, while returning home, trying to enter the atmosphere of the Earth once again, on the1st of February. She has received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor after her passing and her name has also been given to a few universities, streets, and public institutions In India and the US to honor her sacrifice. In India, she is considered a national hero. Her remains, as well as the remains of the other crew members, were cremated and then scattered at Utah's Zion National Park, according to their wishes.

Following this tragedy, all operations connected to flying the Space Shuttle were suspended for more than two years, similar to what happened after the Challenger disaster. Work on the International Space Station was also postponed and the station only used the Russian Roscosmos State Corporation in order to supply the Space Station for two years and five months. The Shuttle resumed its normal flights with the help of the STS-114.

Northrop Grumman is an American company that chose to celebrate the amazing work of this astronaut of Indian descent who has impacted space missions forever. The big announcement was made on Twitter by the group, where they announced that they had selected their most recent NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft to receive the prestigious name of the astronaut.

The company is known for its beautiful tradition of naming each of its Cygnus spacecraft after noteworthy astronaut or spaceflight engineer who has proven his or her positive contribution in flying humans in space, so you might want to check out a few of their other famous commercial cargo spacecraft.