3. Kalpana was born in Karnal, Haryana, but was a naturalized U.S. citizen, married to flight instructor Jean-Pierre Harrison. Besides being an astronaut, she was licensed to fly single and multi-engine land airplanes, single-engine seaplanes and gliders. She was also a certified flight instructor. After qualifying as a pilot, Kalpana began to consider another challenge: applying to NASA’s space shuttle program. She was first hired as a research scientist at NASA. In 1994 she was selected by NASA for training as an astronaut.
4. When asked what it was like being a woman in her field she replied, “I really never, ever thought, while pursuing my studies or doing anything else, that I was a woman, or a person from a small city, or a different country. I pretty much had my dreams like anyone else and I followed them. And people who were around me, fortunately, always encouraged me and said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, carry on’.”
The above paragraphs talk about her early education and naturalisation into American citizenship. Naturalisation is a process where a citizen of one country becomes a citizen of another country by virtue of taking residence for an extended period in a foreign country or by marrying a foreign country's citizen. In Kalpana's case, the naturalisation happened due to the latter reason; she was married to Jean-Paul Harrison and had become an American citizen in the process. Her step-by-step ascent as a pilot and the experience thus gained made her a licensed flight instructor who can fly single and multi-engine aeroplanes, seaplanes and gliders; she entered NASA as a research scientist, her ambitions stretched further. She had decided to apply for the space program, her hard work and dedication finally paid off as she was selected for training as an astronaut in \(1994\).
Just another day at the astronaut's office (Image for illustrative purpose only)
When questioned about her successes despite being a woman in a male-dominated field, she tells us that her gender was never an obstacle while working in NASA. As a research scientist/astronaut, her parents and relatives were also very supportive for her to further her ambitions. Their collective encouragement has given her the much-needed push to go further and achieve such greatness in life.
Meanings of difficult words:
|Naturalise||To gain citizenship in a foreign country by marriage.|
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.