Sirisha Bandla Becomes 3rd Woman of Indian Origin to Fly to Space
Bandla had been part of the crew on billionaire Richard Branson's flight to space in his Virgin Galactic vessel.
Indian-American aeronautical engineer Sirisha Bandla on Sunday, 11 July, became the third woman of Indian origin to travel to space. Bandla had been part of the crew on billionaire Richard Branson's flight to the edge of space in his Virgin Galactic vessel.
"I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of the amazing crew of #Unity22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all," she had tweeted, a few days before the take-off.
"This is an incredible opportunity to get people from different backgrounds, different geographies and different communities into space," the Houston-based aeronautical engineer said in a video posted on Twitter by Virgin Galactic, alluding to the company's mission to commence regular commercial operations to space by 2022.
Bandla has become the third Indian-origin woman into fly to space after astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
More About Sirisha Bandla
Bandla, who was astronaut number 004, was in-charge of Researcher Experience on board the spacecraft, news agency PTI reported.
Born in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Bandla moved to the US with her family when she was four years old.
She completed her Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, in 2011. She then pursued her education in Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University.
Bandla currently serves as the vice-president of government affairs at Virgin Galactic.
Richard Branson's Voyage to Space
Billionaire Richard Branson, on Sunday, 11 July, returned to Spaceport America in New Mexico after successfully venturing into space on his Virgin Galactic vessel.
“The whole thing... it was just magical,” the 71-year-old business magnate said during a live feed from the spacecraft as it made its way back to the Earth, news agency AP reported.
The galactic vessel, which reached a height of 86 km over the New Mexico desert, enabled the passengers to view the curvature of the Earth and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Branson described the journey as the "experience of a lifetime", news agency AFP reported.
Branson has become the first person to travel to the edge of space in his own spaceship, beating Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, who is slated to undertake a journey to space just a few days later, on 20 July.
According to AFP, Branson hopes that this voyage of his will help uplift the space tourism industry.
(With inputs from PTI, AP and AFP)
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