NASA honors Kalpana Chawla and 6 other astronauts killed on the space shuttle Columbia

NEW DELHI: NASA honored the seven astronauts killed aboard the Columbia shuttle 15 years ago, with a special musical tribute.

At the Kennedy Space Center, many gathered to remember the Columbia team killed in the line of duty for decades.

Seven astronauts , including the first woman of the astronaut of Indian origin Kalpana Chawla- died on February 1, 2003, when Columbia broke in the skies over Texas.

  Image: AFP / Archivo Image: AFP / Archivo

A piece of foam, falling from the external tank during the launch, had opened a hole in one of the wings of the shuttle, which led to breaking the orbiter when re-entering. The incident occurred minutes before a touchdown in Florida.

Born in Karnal, 130 km from Chandigarh, Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin in space. The space scientist, who did her engineering degree in aeronautical engineering at Punjab Engineering College (PEC) in Chandigarh, was chosen by NASA for her second space mission in January 2003.

A planetarium has also been established in its name in the city of Kurukshetra, 40 km from here.

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