Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) was an American astronaut of Indian origin. She was the first Indian-American astronaut and the first Indian woman to go into space.
She first flew in 1997 on the Space Shuttle Columbia. She served on the shuttle as of mission specialist and the main person sleeping the shuttle's robotic arms.
She was born in Karnal, Haryana. She got a degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering elementary school. She moved to America and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the 1990s. She earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas. She got her doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1993. She began flying with people for NASA at the Ames Research the same year.
In 2000, Chawla was selected for her second voyage into space, serving again as a mission specialist on STS-107. The mission was delayed several times, and finally launched in 2003. Over the course of the 16-day flight, the crew completed more than 80 experiments. Kalpana was one of the seven people killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy on February 1, 2003.