Two Indian female engineers to receive Kalpana Chawla Scholarship at International Space University

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Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian American astronaut.(Photo: NASA/IANS)

Indian engineers Anisha Rajmane and Palak Singh, have been selected for the International Space University’s prestigious Kalpana Chawla scholarship project for innovation, entrepreneurism and space studies.

The scholarship project, which was established to honor the late Indian American astronaut Kalpana Chawla, is focused on developing strong technical and space leadership qualities in talented Indian women and is used to provide funding for Indians who wish to attend ISU’s space studies program.

According to a university press release, the goal is to attract talented Indian women who are graduate students with backgrounds in science, medicine, materials, satellite technology and other space-related areas of focus and also share “Dr. Chawla’s selfless and passionate pursuit of education and excellence.”

“Kalpana would be honored to be associated with this program and having her name associated with the outstanding opportunities provided to these young ladies,” said Jean-Pierre Harrison, Chawla’s husband, who is an engineer, pilot and author.

Rajmane is a production engineer who worked as a trainee engineer at Manugraph India Ltd. in Kolhapur, Maharashtra where she was in the field of quality check and inspection.

She started taking interest when she worked with the appropriate metals required for proper functioning of the satellites and temperature change, outgassing, contamination, erosion, plasma effects, atmospheric density, solar and nuclear radiation.

She is also associated with Astro Education in Pune as an instructor and has been engaged in various space-related activities in Kolhapur.

Singh has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and has a strong desire of being an innovator in the field of aerospace.

She worked as a research assistant in the aerospace department at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur where she developed an aircraft in ultralight aviation with challenging restraints presented in terms of objective and design.

She also holds interest in research of lifting bodies and re-entry and hopes to work further on it in the near future as she is currently working on the finite element method analysis of bird strikes.

Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in 2003 in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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