US spacecraft named after late Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla

Vastavam Web: An American commercial cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has been named after fallen NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the first India-born woman to enter space, for her key contributions to human spaceflight.

Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defence technology company, announced that its next Cygnus capsule will be named the “S.S. Kalpana Chawla”, in memory of the mission specialist who died with her six crewmates aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. “Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact,” the company tweeted on Wednesday.

“Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Kalpana Chawla. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight,” the company said on its website. “Chawla was selected in honour of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” it said.