Kalpana Chawla: Biography & Columbia Disaster

Kalpana Chawla became the first Indian-born woman to go to space in 1997. Six years later, on February 1, 2003, Chawla died when the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts on board. 

Chawla’s legacy has lived on, however. In particular, her talent and hard work have inspired young people in India and around Earth to consider careers in spaceflight. 

Early life