Kalpana Chawla, Ph.D.
[Editor's Note: Dr. Kalpana Chawla was among the seven space shuttle Columbia
astronauts who were killed on February1, 2003 just before landing.]
PERSONAL DATA: Born in Karnal, India.
Kalpana Chawla enjoys flying, hiking, back-packing, and reading.
She holds Certificated Flight Instructor's license with airplane
and glider ratings, Commercial Pilot's licenses for single- and
multi-engine land and seaplanes, and Gliders, and instrument
rating for airplanes. She enjoys flying aerobatics and tail-wheel
EDUCATION: Graduated from Tagore
School, Karnal, India, in 1976. Bachelor of science degree in
aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India,
1982. Master of science degree in aerospace engineering from
University of Texas, 1984. Doctorate of philosophy in aerospace
engineering from University of Colorado, 1988.
EXPERIENCE: In 1988, Kalpana Chawla
started work at NASA Ames Research Center in the area of
powered-lift computational fluid dynamics. Her research
concentrated on simulation of complex air flows encountered
around aircraft such as the Harrier in "ground-effect." Following
completion of this project she supported research in mapping of
flow solvers to parallel computers, and testing of these solvers
by carrying out powered lift computations. In 1993 Kalpana Chawla
joined Overset Methods Inc., Los Altos, California, as Vice
President and Research Scientist to form a team with other
researchers specializing in simulation of moving multiple body
problems. She was responsible for development and implementation
of efficient techniques to perform aerodynamic optimization.
Results of various projects that Kalpana Chawla participated in
are documented in technical conference papers and journals.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in
December 1994, Kalpana Chawla reported to the Johnson Space
Center in March 1995 as an astronaut candidate in the 15th Group
of Astronauts. After completing a year of training and
evaluation, she was assigned as crew representative to work
technical issues for the Astronaut Office EVA/Robotics and
Computer Branches. Her assignments included work on development
of Robotic Situational Awareness Displays and testing space
shuttle control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration
In November, 1996, Kalpana Chawla was
assigned as mission specialist and prime robotic arm operator on
STS-87 (November 19 to December 5, 1997). STS-87 was the fourth U.S Microgravity Payload flight and focused on experiments
designed to study how the weightless environment of space affects
various physical processes, and on observations of the Sun's
outer atmospheric layers. Two members of the crew performed an
EVA (spacewalk) which featured the manual capture of a Spartan
satellite, in addition to testing EVA tools and procedures for
future Space Station assembly. In completing her first mission,
Kalpana Chawla traveled 6.5 million miles in 252 orbits of the
Earth and logged 376 hours and 34 minutes in space. In January,
1998, Kalpana Chawla was assigned as crew representative for
shuttle and station flight crew equipment. Subsequently, she was
assigned as the lead for Astronaut Office’s Crew Systems and
Habitability section. She is currently assigned to the crew of
STS-107 scheduled for launch in 2003.
National Aeronautics and Space