- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 1, 2003

Kalpana Chawla, 41, a native of India, was flight engineer and mission specialist aboard the shuttle Columbia.

It was her second flight aboard Columbia. In 1997 she was a mission specialist and prime robotic arm operator for STS-87. In completing her first mission, she traveled 6.5 million miles in 252 orbits of the Earth and logged 376 hours in space.

She was selected by NASA in 1994. After training, she was assigned as crew representative to work technical issues for the Astronaut Office. Her assignments included work on development of robotic situational awareness displays and testing space shuttle control software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory.

In 1988, Chawla started work at the NASA Ames Research Center in the area of powered-lift computational fluid dynamics.

In 1993, she joined Overset Methods Inc., in Los Altos, Calif., as vice president and research scientist to form a team with other researchers specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems.

She earned a doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988, and a master's of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1984.

A native of Karnal, India, Chawla graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India, in 1982. She was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

She held a Certificated Flight Instructor's license with airplane and glider ratings, Commercial Pilot's licenses for single- and multi-engine land and seaplanes, and gliders.

(Editors: UPI photos WAX2003020112 and WAX2003020121 available)

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