Sirisha Bandla, only the second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla, has made India proud. She is a part of the team which will make its first crewed flight to space in which her flight role is that of a Researcher Experience.
The 34-year-old aeronautical engineer was born in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district and brought up in Houston, Texas. Sirisha took to her social media account to share her excitement. She wrote, “I am so incredibly honored to be a part of the amazing crew of Unity 22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all.”
Former Andhra Pradesh CM, N Chandrababu Naidu also took to his social media account to acknowledge Bandla’s achievement. He wrote, “Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11th, Sirisha Bandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with Richard Branson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud!”
Sirisha completed her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2011 from Purdue University. Later on, she also pursued a master’s in Business Administration from the George Washington University.
Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs at Virgin Galactic. Before this, she also worked here as a Business Development and Government Affairs Manager from 2017 to 2020.
Prior to Bandla, Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams were the other Indians who went into space.
Flight to space
Virgin Galactic spaceflight Unity 22 will be making its first fully crewed rocket-powered test flight on July 11. The crew includes Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, and 3 mission specialists. The six-member team includes Dave Mackay, Michael Masucci, Colin Bennett, and Beth Moses. The spaceflight will be globally live-streamed. Moreover, Richard Branson also wrote on his social media account that upon their return, he will announce details on how more people will be given a chance to become an astronaut.
Virgin Galactic is a British-American spaceflight company that operates in the United States. It was founded by Richard Branson and aims to make space available for all.