India's second Kalpana Chawla

Sirisha Bandla is an Indian American Astronaut and Aeronautical Engineer born in 1987 in Andhra Pradesh. She was raised in Houston, Texas. Her dream was to become an Astronaut so she and her family moved to the USA at 3 years of age. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University and achieved her masters in business administration from George Washington University. Her father, B.Muralidhar and her mother Anuradha both work for the US Government. She also has one sister, Pratyusha Bandla who is Biological Science Technician.

Sirisha Bandla (Photo via: Twitter/ @governorap)

After Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla, she is the 3rd Indian woman who is going to space. She wished to join NASA but was ruled out on medical grounds due to her eyesight. Before this she worked for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation as an aerospace engineer with Matthew Isakowitz. She joined Virgin Galactic in 2015 and became the Vice President of Government affairs to the virgin group. She flew with British Billionaire Richard Branson, Dave Mackay, Micheal Masucci, Colin Bennett and Beth Moses. They flew with Virgin Galactic's Unit22 over New Mexico. She was the part of Unit22 test flight team that headed to slave on 11th July, 2021. The rocket plane flew 88 km and 53 minutes above Earth and she conducted an experiment from the University of Florida to know how plants react to change in gravity. Bandla's grandfather, Dr Bandla Ragaiah said that from a very young age Sirisha had ambition to explore space.

From left to right: Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci. (Photo via: AP)

Sirisha said "I'm so credibly honored to be a part of the amazing crew #Unit22 and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all." on Twitter. After this tweet, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister congratulated her.

At 34 years of age she has touched the peak of her success. She’s the diamond of India and a role model for India's future. She has made an incredible record for both India and America.

Sirisha and her team in Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship ‘VSS Unity’ going to outer space from America’s Spaceport launch facility.

Authored By: Shreta Das

Edited By: Uddantika Kashyap