American global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman has launched their next Cygnus vehicle named as S.S. Kalpana Chawla cargo spacecraft and a Antares rocket for the CRS OA-14 mission to the International Space Station on 2 October 2020 from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Launch Pad 0. This capsule will deliver thousands  kilograms/pounds of equipment, crew supplies, and science to the International Space Station.

S.S. Kalpana Chawla Cygnus

  • The Capsule is made up of :
    1. A Pressurized Cargo Module- built by Italy’s Thales Alenia Space (French-Italian aerospace).
    2. A Service Module-  which consists of 2 solar arrays, navigation equipment, and propulsion elements which have been built by Virginia’s Dulles Northrop Grumman.
  • This has been named in the honor of American-Indian astronaut Dr. Kalpana Chawla who was the first Indian-born woman to travel to space.
  • The spacecraft carried with itself a new space toilet called the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS). It is 65 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than the current toilet being used at International Space Station.
  • The capsule also carried a radish-growing experiment in order to learn about survival & feasibility of growing plants in space.
  • Capsule also carried a cancer treatment technique requisites to test cancer drugs in micro gravity conditions.

Dr. Kalpana Chawla

Dr. Chawla was born on 17 March 1962 in Haryana’s Karnal district. She earned a Bachelors of Engineering in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College and moved to the United States of America in 1982. In 1997, Dr. Chawla flew as a primary robotic arm operator and also as a mission specialist. Dr. Chawla died while she was on a space mission in the Columbia spacecraft. The spacecraft got disintegrated  while returning to Earth after a hot plasma entered the wing of the aircraft. Some of the important honors provided to her has been listed below:

  • In 2004, Karnataka Govt started giving Kalpana Chawla Award to recognise young women scientists.
  • Asteroid 51826 Kalpana chawla-  in the outer Asteroid belt of solar system has been named after her.
  •  “MetSat-1” (meteorological satellite), satellite that was launched by India in 2002 was renamed as “Kalpana-1”
  • Kalpana One Space Settlement has been named in her honor.

NASA launched SS Kalpana Chawla Cargo Spacecraft NASA launched SS Kalpana Chawla Cargo Spacecraft