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By Savita S. More

Chapter 4 An Indian – American Woman in Space kalpana Chawla

Chapter 4 An Indian – American Woman in Space kalpana Chawla

Working with the Text

[Q] Where was Kalpana Chawla born? Why is she called an Indian – American?
[A] Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal, Haryana, India. However, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States because She was married to Jean-Pierre Harrison, who worked as a flight instructor.


[Q] When and why did she go to the U.S.? Who did she marry?
[A] Kalpana Chawla went to the United States for further education after finishing her bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in India. Despite her father’s objections, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in the United States. Eventually, she obtained a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. Kalpana Chawla was married to Jean-Pierre Harrison, who worked as a flight instructor.


[Q] How did she become an astronaut? What gave her the idea that she could be an astronaut?
[A] Kalpana Chawla’s journey to becoming an astronaut started with her love for aviation and desire to explore space. After becoming a licensed pilot and flight instructor, she sought new challenges. While working as a research scientist at NASA, she applied and was chosen for astronaut training in 1994. Kalpana Chawla was motivated by her own dreams and the support she received from others. She didn’t let her gender, nationality, or background hold her back. Her determination, academic accomplishments, and expertise in aviation and aerospace engineering were key factors in her selection as an astronaut candidate.


[Q] What abilities must an astronaut have,according to the journalist?
[A] The journalist states that astronauts need to have a wide range of skills and knowledge. They should be well-versed in various fields such as biology, astrophysics, and aeronautical engineering. In today’s specialized world, the journalist suggests that astronauts should have a vast amount of knowledge, like an encyclopedia, across multiple disciplines.
The journalist emphasizes that becoming an astronaut requires exceptional abilities and highlights the importance of having extensive knowledge. This implies that astronauts should have a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and the ability to apply their knowledge in practical and challenging situations. The challenging nature of space exploration demands astronauts to have a comprehensive understanding of different areas.


[Q] Describe Kalpana Chawla’s first mission in space.
[A] Kalpana Chawla’s first space mission was on the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia, known as STS-87. The mission took place in 1997 and lasted for 15 days, 16 hours, and 34 minutes. During this time, Kalpana Chawla and her fellow astronauts circled the Earth 252 times, covering a distance of approximately 10.45 million kilometers.
STS-87 was a multinational mission with astronauts from different countries, including Japan and Ukraine. The crew conducted various experiments and scientific research during their time in space. They studied plant pollination in microgravity to observe how food grows and also conducted tests to develop stronger metals and faster computer chips.
The success of this mission was a significant achievement for Kalpana Chawla and Indian-American women in the field of space exploration. It demonstrated her skills, dedication, and ability to conduct scientific research in the challenging conditions of space. Her accomplishments as the first woman from India to go to space brought great pride to her family, India, and the international space community.


[Q] What does Kalpana Chawla say about pursuing a dream? Do you agree with her that success is possible?
[A] Kalpana Chawla believed that anyone can pursue and achieve their dreams. She didn’t let her gender, background, or nationality limit her. She followed her dreams with the support of those around her. In a message from space, she encouraged students to have the vision and courage to pursue their dreams and wished them a successful journey. She believed that with determination and bravery, one can embark on the path to success.


B. Read the newspaper report to find the following facts about the Columbia’s ill-fated voyage.

l. Date and place of lift off: 16 jan 2003 from Kennedy Space Center
2. Number of astronauts on board: seven
3. Number of days it stayed in space: 16 days
4. Number of experiments done by scientists: 80 experiments
5. Date of return journey: 1 february 2003
6. Height at which it lost contact: 200,000 feet




A. Match the following.

1. unprecedented space tragedy a) something that causes feelings of respect and wonder
2. certified flight instructor b) having knowledge of a wide variety of subjects
3. space mission c) nowadays, in these times
4. super specialisation d) a set of jobs to be done in space by a group
5. encyclopaedic knowledge e) a person with the correct qualification to teach people to fly planes
6. awe-inspiring f) a sad accident of a kind that has never happened before in space
7. in this age g) great expertise in a limited field or a particular subject

An Indian – American Woman in Space kalpana Chawla extra Question answer

Q: When did the tragedy involving the Space Shuttle Columbia occur?
A: The tragedy occurred on Saturday, 1st February 2003.


Q: How many people were aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when the tragedy happened?
A: There were seven people on board the Space Shuttle Columbia.

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