Kalpana Chawla Childhood
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Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962   – February 1, 2003) was an Indian American astronaut  and the first woman of Indian origin in space.  She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster  when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Chawla is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Born in Karnal, India, on July 1, 1961, Chawla was the youngest of four children. The name Kalpana means "idea" or "imagination." Her full name is pronounced CULL-puh-na CHAV-la , though she often went by the nickname K.C.