Space

US names spacecraft after late Indian-American astronaut Kalpana Chawla

The Spacecraft

Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defence technology company, announced that its next Cygnus capsule will be named the “S.S. Kalpana Chawla”, in memory of the mission specialist who died with her six crewmates aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.

“Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact,” the company tweeted on Wednesday. “Chawla was selected in honour of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” it said.

The Mission

The S S Kalpana Chawla capsule is scheduled to launch on the NG-14 mission atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on September 29. The spacecraft will arrive at and be attached to the space station two days later.

For the NG-14 mission, the Cygnus spacecraft will deliver approximately 3,629 kg of cargo to the space station.

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