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Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to go to space, having served as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator on the space shuttle Columbia. Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003 following the space shuttle Columbia’s 28th mission. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities, and institutions have been named in her honor. She is regarded as a national hero in India, where she was born in East Punjab, in 1962.

AAPI TrailBlazers articles are current at the time of publication.

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