1. KALPANA Chawla said that she never dreamed, as a child in Karnal, that she would cross the frontiers of space. It was enough that her parents allowed her to attend engineering college after she graduated from Tagore School.
2. After a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering, against great opposition from her father, she went for a master’s degree to the United States of America. She later earned her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian–American woman astronaut to blast off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and participate in a successful mission in space. Her family from India cheered along with staff at the Kennedy Space Center as they watched the Columbia lift off.
After graduating from Tagore School in Karnal, Haryana, she was allowed to undergo a bachelor's degree in engineering. What we would have to understand here is that this is itself speaks volumes about the forward-thinking mindset of Kalpana's parents. Unlike most parents of that time (1960s) rather than stopping her academic progress, they allowed her to study engineering; they had also encouraged her to do it in a branch of her choice.
A day's work of an Aerospace Engineer (Image for illustrative purpose only)

But even the liberal mindset of parents could only go so far. It wasn't exactly an easy step from being a bachelor in Aeronautical engineering to going to the USA to obtain her masters in the same field. The text itself quotes that it was done only with great opposition from her father. Kalpana Chawla had earned various educational qualifications on her way to the top; one of these was a doctorate (Ph.D) in Aerospace engineering. The most notable honour that Kalpana Chawla had earned was of being the first woman of Indian origin to get selected by NASA. The last paragraph further details about her first historic launch along with six other crew members from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Kalpana Chawla.jpg
*Kalpana Chawla in her training suit
Meanings of difficult words:
No. WordMeaning
To successfully complete a specific course of study and earn a certificate in the process.
Undergo To go through anything for a long duration.
Bachelor Any person who has completed his/her bachelor's degree.
Doctorate The highest awarded degree to any student pursuing a subject, also called a Ph.D.
Historic An event so great it would be recorded in World History books.
Material source: National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Honeysuckle. An Indian - American Woman in Space: Kalpana Chawla (pp. 45-53). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.
*Kalpana Chawla in her training suit:,_NASA_photo_portrait_in_orange_suit.jpg#filelinks.