Third Indian-origin woman to go to space | Fusion - WeRIndia

Third Indian-origin woman to go to space

Third Indian-origin woman to go to space

Women in Indian space sector don’t often get the recognition they deserve. Back in 1997, Kalpana Chawla made history by becoming the first woman of Indian origin to travel in space.

She was the mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator on the US space shuttle Columbia.

About twenty years later in 2006, Sunita Williams became the second woman of Indian origin to go to space on a 12-day repair mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Now, more than ten years later, another Indian origin woman is about to become the third Indian woman to go to space. Her name is Shawna Pandya.


Shawna is a 32 year old general physician. She is one of the two candidates selected from a pool of 3,200 people enrolled in the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) program.

In 2018, she is set to go on her space mission along with eight other astronauts.

Shawna was born in Alberta, Canada and also has roots of Mumbai. She is a woman of many talents.

She is a neurosurgeon at Alberta University hospital, an opera singer, an author, an international taekwondo champion and even trained in Muay Thai with a Navy SEAL.

Third Indian-origin woman to go to space

Third Indian-origin woman to go to space

She chose to enter the branch of neuroscience because she was inspired by Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space who was a neuro-opthalmologist.

In 2018, Shawna is geared up to work under a project called Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM).

The project studies the effects of climate change.

She has trained for the project for a long time at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in US.

Other than that, she is also set to work on Physiological, Health, and Environmental Observations in Microgravity (PHEnOM).

It is a microgravity human research program to perform research into commercial human spaceflight.


Image Reference: TheBetterIndia

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