Northrop Grumman Launched SS Kalpana Chawla Cygnus

Northrop Grumman has launched their next Cygnus vehicle named as S.S. Kalpana Chawla and a Antares rocket for the NG-14 mission to the International Space Station (ISS)  on October 2, 2020 from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. This capsule will deliver thousands  kilograms/pounds of equipment, crew supplies, and science to the ISS.

The S.S. Kalpana Chawla Cygnus

  • The Capsule is made up of :
    1. A Pressurized Cargo Module- built by Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, and
    2. A Service Module-  which consists of two solar arrays, navigation equipment, and propulsion elements which have been built by Northrop Grumman in Dulles, Virginia.
  • This has been named in the honor of 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. It is 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the current toilet being used at ISS.
  • The capsule also carried a radish-growing experiment in order to learn about survival and feasibility of growing plants in space.
  • It also carried a cancer treatment technique requisites to test cancer drugs in micro gravity conditions.

Kalpana Chawla

She was born on 17 March 1962 in Karnal district of Haryana. She earned a Bachelors of Engineering in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College and moved to the United States in 1982. She flew as a primary robotic arm operator and also as a mission specialist in 1997 . She 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:

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