- Will be only the fourth Indian to fly to space after Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams
New Delhi: Indian-American Sirisha Bandla will soon fly to space on board VSS Unity of Virgin Galactic. She will be the fourth Indian after Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams to set foot in space and only the second India-born woman to do so. She was born in Andhra Pradesh in India.
Sirisha Bandla will join Sir Richard Branson, the head of America’s leading private space agency Virgin Galactic, and four others on the flight. She is the vice-president of the company and will join the crew as researcher experience.
The test flight is scheduled to take off from New Mexico on July 11.
“I am so incredibly honored to be a part of the amazing crew of #Unity22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all,” she tweeted.
Sirisha Bandla, 34, is an aeronautical engineer who graduated from Purdue University. She also holds a master’s in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She joined Virgin Galactic in 2015 and is the VP-Government Affairs and Research Operations of the company. She was born in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, but grew up in Houston, Texas. Her parents are Dr Murlidhar Bandla and Anuradha Bandla.
In his congratulatory message on Twitter, former Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu said, “Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11th, @SirishaBandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with @RichardBranson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud!”
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