Friday, August 6, 2021

Astronaut Sirisha Bandla: ‘The first Telugu girl to reach for the stars’

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This Sunday July 11, Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla will become the fourth Indian-origin astronaut to go to space.

The 34-year-old astronaut took to Twitter to express her gratitude.

Bandla is originally from Guntur but emigrated to the US during her childhood and was brought up in Houston, Texas. She graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 2011 and later also earned an MBA degree from George Washington University in 2015.

Sirisha Bandla is currently Vice President of Government Affairs at Virgin Galactic, a British-American spaceflight company based in California.

On the company’s upcoming Unity22 mission, she is part of a six-member crew alongside Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder Richard Branson, and will be taking care of the researcher’s experience.

Previous Indian-origin astronauts who have participated in space missions include former IAF pilot Rakesh Sharma (in 1984), the late Kalpana Chawla (in 1997 and 2003) whose efforts made invaluable contributions to human spaceflight, and former naval pilot Sunita Williams (in 2006, 2007, 2012) who is part of an upcoming Boeing-Starliner mission due to launch in 2022.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nara Chandrababu Naidu and several other eminent people applauded Sirisha Bandla for emerging as the first woman with Telugu roots who will be space-bound soon.

“Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11, Sirisha Bandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with Richard Branson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud!” said Naidu.

Telugu cinema legend Chiranjeevi noted that Bandla is literally the first Telugu girl to reach for the stars.

“Proud moments for the parents, Telugus and all Indians! Congratulations and wishing your mission a great success,” said Chiranjeevi.


READ ALSO: SS Kalpana Chawla: US spacecraft named after late astronaut

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