Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian American woman to travel into space not once but twice on missions for the NASA in the USA. Her first trip was in 1997 and lasted 16 days. She travelled 6.5 million miles orbiting the earth 252 times.
Unfortunately, Kalpana and six other astronauts died on Feb. 1 - 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia exploded 16 minutes before landing. This was her second mission.
Kalpana studied at the Tagore Bal Niketan School in Karnal - Haryana.
Space Fact - 2
Astronauts in space must eat slowly to keep their food from flying off the spoon and floating away. Most food comes in sauce and gravy so that it sticks to the utensils. Salt and pepper are also in squeezable liquid form.
Space Fact - 3
The fuel used in a rocket is extremely explosive and needs special storage. The rocket tanks have to be kept very cold so that the fuel does not evaporate away. If an ice cube had been sealed in a rocket tank of the space launcher Saturn V, it would have taken eight
years to melt.
Space Fact - 4
Astronauts sometimes go on spacewalks, not for the exorcise, but to retrieve and repair
satellites and other orbiting scientific equipment. When they spacewalk, they are anchored to the space vehicle in which they travel, else they will just float away and might become satellites of some object in space.
Space Fact - 5
Although it is one of the biggest planets in the Solar System, the density of Saturn is only
70% that of water. If we drop it in a giant bowl of water, it will float!
Space Fact - 6
Jupiter's Great Red Spot, also known as THE EYE OF JUPITER, is a permanent hurricane. It is so huge that three earths can fit into it. This whirlpool of gases spins on its axis in an anticlockwise direction and revolves along with the rest of Jupiter's cloud bands.
Space Fact - 7
Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter lies a belt of tens of thousands of tumbling lumps of rock metal fragments that revolve around the Sun. These are the asteroids. Ceres, the
largest asteroid, is about 945 km across (half the size of the moon) while the smallest ones could just be one km across.
Space Fact - 8
You would weigh so little on a very small asteroid that you would not need a rocket to launch you into space. You can just jump and never come down!
Space Fact - 9
The Sun derives its energy from a reaction similar to that of a hydrogen bomb. Two atoms of hydrogen fuse to form one atom of helium. The Sun uses four million tons of hydrogen fuel every second. Yet it has enough to keep shining for five billion years more.
Space Fact - 10
Did you know that stars die too? Once stars run out of fuel, they begin to die. First, they swell in size to form giants, then they shrink into dwarfs. Just a teaspoonful of material from a dwarf star weighs many tonnes.
Space Fact - 11
When really big, heavy stars die, they swell into enormous super giants that blast themselves apart in a mighty explosion called supernova. They continue collapsing under gravity until nothing is left, just an area of space with enormous gravity that swallows up
anything near by, even light. This is calleda black hole.