New Delhi: Sirisha Bandla will shortly become the second India-born lady to fly to space. The first Indian-origin woman to procure the feat was Kalpana Chawla. After she ventured on her journey on July 11, Bandla would be the fourth Indian to glide into space.
Who is Sirisha Bandla?
Born in Tenali of Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, Bandla was brought up in Houston, Texas of the USA, The New Indian Express reported. The 34-year-old is among the six-member crew of VSS Unity — Virgin Galactic’s suborbital rocket-powered spaceplane.
As per details, Bandla is vice-president, government affairs, and research operations wing of Virgin Galactic as well as its sister concern, Virgin Orbit.
During the space flight, which is the 22nd for VSS Unity, Sirisha’s performance will be to assess research experience. Sharing the video of the crew members, Bandla tweeted on Friday (July 2), “I am so awfully honored to be a part of the amazing crew of #Unity22, and to be a part of an organization whose mission is to make space accessible to all.”
Clarifying elation at his granddaughter’s feat, Sirisha’s grandfather Bandla Ragaiah, an agricultural scientist and a resident of Janapdu village in Piduguralla, Guntur region told The New Indian Express, “I’ve always seen her passion to achieve something big and finally, she is going to achieve her dream. I’m assured she will flourish in this mission and make the whole country proud.”
Sirisha Bandla told Space.com in June that the Virgin Galactic flight will last approximately 60 to 75 minutes and will depart and land back at Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America in New Mexico.
Sirisha’s father Dr Bandla Muralidhar is a scientist and a member of Senior Executive Services, United States Government. He and his wife Bandla Anuradha relocated to the US when Sirisha was 5.
She studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University and also has an MBA from George Washington University. In 2015, she joined Virgin Galactic as a member of government affairs and research operations and was later advocated as vice-president.