Udayavni Special

After Kalpana Chawla, Sirisha Bandla to become second India-born woman to fly to space


Team Udayavani, Jul 3, 2021, 2:42 PM IST

Image: Twitter/@ncbn

Sirisha Bandla will become the second Indian-born woman to fly into space later this month, following in the footsteps of astronaut Kalpana Chawla.

Bandla will be one of the six space travellers aboard Virgin Galactic’s ‘VSS Unity’, scheduled to take off on July 11 from Mexico. Bandla will be taking care of the researcher experience on the Unity22 mission.

The company took to Twitter to announce the crew, which will be flying into space alongside the founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson.

Born in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur, Bandla grew up in Houston and graduated in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University.

The 34-year-old aeronautical engineer joined Virgin Galactic in 2015 and currently holds the position of vice-president of government affairs in the company.

Sharing the news on her Twitter, Bandla shared she was “incredibly honoured” to be part of the crew.

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister NN Chandrababu Naidu on Friday lauded Bandla’s achievement stating, “Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11, Sirisha Bandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with Richard Branson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud.”

Bandla will become the second Indian-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla and the fourth Indian to go to space after Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.

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