Bon Voyage Essay

923 Words Jun 30th, 2013 4 Pages
Bon Voyage

‘The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.’ - H W Longfellow

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, said Neil Armstrong, stepping on to the moon’s surface on 21st, July 1969.
Kalpana Chawla steeped into space, not once but twice. It proved to be a great leap for womankind especially for Indian woman. It was the bridge between the impossible and the possible. Kalpana said, “You can’t cross a great chasm in two short steps; it needs one big leap.”0

Birth: Kalpana Chawla was born on the 1stof July 1961 in Karnal, Haryana, into a middle class family,
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According to NASA, her academic accomplishments, intense physical fitness and experience as a pilot made her a natural choice. She reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995. Her path to the ‘Milky Way’ was paved now. She had to undergo a year’s rigorous training and evaluation. The training was so arduous that it could deter an average human being, but not Chawla. It was a training, which included experiencing the pull of gravity, which would increase the pulse rate from 72 to 102 within seconds – a training where every movement could be a discovery of pain. The training required immense levels of fitness.

Dream to be fulfilled: In 1996, her dream became true. She started off on her path to the ‘Milky Way’. She was assigned as mission specialist on STS-87 Columbia, for a 16-day mission between November 19 to December 5, 1997, as part of a six astronaut crew. She became the first Indian or Indian-American to fly in the US space shuttle. She made history by becoming the first Indian born woman to achieve this feat, for she had sought American citizenship in the early 90’s.Though her dream became true, she was blamed for making mistakes that sent a science satellite tumbling out of control. Other astronauts went on a space walk to capture it. However a post-flight NASA evaluation absolved her of blame, rating her ‘terrific astronaut’.

Conclusion: The 16-day flight which began on January 16th 2003 was a dedicated Science and

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