1 feb : India’s ‘Kalpana’ died in Space

Dreams disintegrated on first day of February in 2003, when India and the World woke up with the news of Nasa’s Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrating into pieces while entering the Earth’s orbit. Seven astronauts aboard the shuttle were lost in the disaster, including India’s daughter Kalpana Chawla. 

Columbia blasted off for the final time on January 16, 2003, carrying more than 80 scientific experiments on a 16-day research mission known as STS-107. Just 16 days later, while returning to earth, Columbia broke into pieces. The search for debris took weeks, as it was shed over a field of some 2,000 square miles (5,180 square kilometers) in east Texas alone. NASA eventually recovered 84,000 pieces, representing nearly 40 percent of Columbia. Among them were the crew remains, which were identified with DNA.

The STS-107 crew includes, from the left, Mission Specialist David Brown, Commander Rick Husband, Mission Specialists Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla and Michael Anderson, Pilot William McCool and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon. (NASA photo)

Born to a middle class family in Harayana, Kalpana Chawla had high dreams. Youngest and the most pampered child, she was not only a dreamer but also knew how to achieve them. Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian-born woman and the second Indian person to fly in space, following cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma who flew in 1984 on the Soyuz T-11. She is remembered by every Indian after 14 years of her demise.

#Hindi 
वैसे तो किसी बुरे दिन को बार-बार याद करके दुखी होना अच्छी बात नहीं है। लेकिन जब वो बुरा दिन खुद पर फक्र महसूस कराए, तो उसे याद करने में कोई बुराई नहीं है। आज का दिन है कल्पना चावला के नाम… वो आज हम सब को अलविदा कह इस दुनिया से चली गईं थी… या यूं कहें कि अमर हो गईं थीं। कोलंबिया यान 16 जनवरी 2003 को धरती से अंतरिक्ष की तरफ उड़ा था। उसमें मौजूद 7 क्रू मेंबर्स में से एक भारत की शान कल्पना चावला भी थी। देश के लिए ये गौरव की बात थी। लेकिन 1 फरवरी 2003 को जब कोलंबिया धरती पर वापस लौटने वाला था, तभी उसमें एक धमाका हुआ और उसमें मौजूद 7 क्रू मेंबर्स शहीद हो गए।