Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III

This will be the third part of this series, Inspiring People Whom I Admire. Parts 1 and 2 were based on books that I had read. This post was inspired by another post I had read on brainfiguring.com and is about Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut from the country of India. I hope you enjoy Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III.

“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.”
~ Kalpana Chawla

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People Whom I Admire – Part III

I’ve always been interested in space travel and I watch every launch I can. I remember watching the first astronauts launch in the 1960s and I continue to watch the SpaceX launches. My first recollection of seeing Kalpana Chawla was when she was a member of mission STS-107 and was about to board the space shuttle Columbia on January 16, 2003. As the seven Columbia crew members were shown walking to their vehicle, Kalpana stood out to me. She appeared too young and small to be an astronaut. What stood out to me was how she carried herself with such confidence.

Inspiring People Whom I Admire Part - III, Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III
Kalpana Chawla

Born To Fly

Kalpana Chawla was born July 1, 1961, in Karnal, India. She always enjoyed flying and held many pilots licenses. She could fly about any airplane. Her family was middle class and she graduated from high school in 1976. After graduating from high school, she found herself as the only female in the aeronautics batch at Punjab University. Her parents resisted her career choice but nothing could stop Kalpana.

“Do something because you really want to do it. If you’re doing it just for the goal and don’t enjoy the path, then I think you’re cheating yourself.”
~ Kalpana Chawla

Big Dreamer

Kalpana always had big dreams. Her dreams were to travel beyond the blue yonder, fly into the heavens, and touch the stars someday. She became the first female Indian born NASA astronaut. Kalpana wanted to show the world that dreams do come true with hard work and patience. She said, “You can retrieve what you dream with strength, endurance, willpower, and confidence. She was 1 of 2000 applicants for a civilian scientist’s position on Columbia’s voyage.

Space Shuttle Photos

When she was living in the dorms while studying for her bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees, she had pictures of the space shuttle taped to her walls. She didn’t think, at the time she was putting them up, that one day she would fly on one. When I read about this it didn’t surprise me because what you look at every day becomes your thoughts in your subconscious. Your thoughts turn into reality.

Inspiring People Whom I Admire Part - III, Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III
Space Shuttle

Kalpana is a great example that we can become anything we want if we put our minds to it. She dreamed of flying to the stars and surrounded herself with pictures of the space shuttle, which became her thoughts. Her thoughts directed her actions and her actions became her reality. She set goals to keep her on track and enjoyed the journey. Her thoughts on goals were, “When you are going for a goal, the journey is the best part.”

It’s easy for me to be motivated and inspired by seeing somebody who just goes all out to do something.
~ Kalpana Chawla

Dreams Come True

Kalpana’s first opportunity to travel beyond the blue yonder and fly into the heavens came when she was selected to be part of the crew on mission STS-87 in November 1997. She flew on the space shuttle Columbia as they completed 252 orbits of the earth in just over two weeks. In 2000, she was selected for her second voyage on Columbia as a mission specialist on STS-107. Because of many delays they didn’t launch until January 16, 2003. It was an ill-fated launch due to a piece of foam that broke off and damaged the heat tiles on the spacecraft wing.

I would say if you have a dream, follow it. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a woman or from India or from wherever.
~ Kalpana Chawla

Tragedy Strikes

On February 1, 2003, I was running on a treadmill at my gym and turned on the TV to watch Columbia land. They showed maps of the flight path Columbia would take to land at Kennedy Space Center. I began reading at the bottom of the screen that they had lost communication. The next images were from cameras in Texas and showed fiery streaks in the sky. I realized at that moment that Columbia had broken up and the crew had perished. It was a sad day for the world and particularly the country of India.

If you want to do something, what does it matter where you are ranked?
~ Kalpana Chawla

Nothing Could Stop Her

Kalpana Chawla had accomplished much while growing up in a male-dominated society and country. In the 1970s and 1980s, women in India were fighting battles against:

            – Dowry

            – Rape

            – Caste Crimes

            – Unjust Laws

            – Better Working Conditions

            – and more.

My admiration for Kalpana Chawla comes from the fact that she would not let anything stop her from her dreams. She had a definite purpose and persevered to achieve her dreams. For millions of young Indians, she was inspirational. She gave them hope that they could dream and work hard to achieve those dreams.

Inspiring People Whom I Admire Part - III, Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III
All Aboard!!

This Train Is Moving On. You Can Get On, You Can Get Off, But The Train Keeps Moving On! We Are Going To The Top Of The Mountain!

Final Thoughts

Kalpana Chawla is an inspirational person. She is a role model for women and men alike. I hope you enjoyed Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III. If you did, click the like button. Leave a comment below, I love reading your comments. If you would like to join my team, click the subscribe button above and leave your email address. Don’t forget to follow my blog.

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32 thoughts on “Inspiring People Whom I Admire – Part III

  1. Wow, it’s incredible that Chawla lived through that society and still managed to achieve her dreams. You’re right, she is an inspiration. Some people just never give up. And I’m so sorry to hear how she passed away. Even though I didn’t know about her until now, I’m still sad at how she went. Thank you for sharing this legend with us.

    1. Thank you for reading Cindy. It was a tragedy to lose all the admirable people aboard Columbia that day. Even though she is gone, she still inspires people today.

  2. An inspiring article Chief. Going to space is a dream to almost every person, but takes someone really motivated and driven like Miss Chawla to be able to achieve at that level. As you have pointed out, its even more incredible that she managed to achieve such a feat in a relatively backward time in the Indian Society. I loved her quotes as well, full of passion and self-awareness.

  3. Thank you for sharing about kalpana Chawla… she will always be an inspiration for we Indian women.. karnal is not far my place and whenever I visit the city, it reminds me of her

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