Birthplace: Karnal, India
Kalpana Chawla's love of flying led to her career as a NASA astronaut. She started her higher education in India, earning a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College in 1982. Moving to the U.S., she turned to aerospace engineering and received her M.S. from the University of Texas and her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Chawla joined NASA in 1995 and was assigned as mission specialist on the space shuttle STS-87 in 1997, becoming the first Indian-American woman to go into space. She was a crew member on the Shuttle Columbia when it broke up upon reentry to the Earth's atmosphere in February 2003.Died: 2/1/2003
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