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'But for Kalpanadidi, I could never dream'

January 17, 2003 21:59 IST

It was a proud moment for the Tagore Baal Niketan school, the alma mater of Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian American woman to be sent to space who embarked on her second voyage on Thursday when the US space shuttle Columbia blasted off for a research mission from Cape Canaveral.

The school authorities are thankful for the help extended by Chawla in arranging the visit of two students from her alma mater each year to the NASA headquarters in Houston.

"But for Kalpanadidi, I could never dream of visiting the prestigious NASA headquarters in Houston," said Sarprit, adding it was a wonderful experience.

Sarprit and Namita Olang said Kalpana's achievements are an inspiration for the students. Olang said Kalpana is so simple and that she will be her guiding light.

School principal Vimla Raheja said Chawla's gesture is a wonderful annual 'gift'.

Kalpana did her college education in Punjab before going to Texas to do her masters in aerospace engineering.

She is an avid flier and holds certified flight instructor's license with airplane and glider ratings, commercial pilot's licences for single and multiengine land and sea planes.

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