Kalpana Chawla: Tributes pour in for India's first woman in space who would have been 55-years-old today

Shehab Khan
Kalpana Chawla waves as she walks out of the Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center: TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images

Tributes are pouring in for Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian woman in space, on what would have been her 55th birthday.

Ms Chawla passed away in 2003 in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The shuttle disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

She first went to space in 1997 and today would have marked her 55th birthday.

A range of public figures have praised Ms Chawla and former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag took to Twitter to pay tribute to the astronaut.

He described her as an “inspiration and symbol of courage and strength”.

Several honours have been awarded to Ms Chawla since her death and an asteroid and satellite were named after her.

A hill on the planet Mars was also called Chawa Hill in her honour.

The news comes as India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, was found orbiting the moon eight years after it lost radio contact.

The spacecraft was found 200 kilometres above the lunar surface by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

Chandrayaan was India’s first mission to the moon and was launched in 2008.

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