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Photo gallery: Meet the top Indian-origin scientists in NASA

Zee Media Bureau | May 26, 2019, 12:47 PM IST

As a part of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, NASA celebrated the contributions of several Indian-origin scientists in the space agency including engineers, flight directors, astronauts, ISRO and many more. 


Kalpana Chawla was the first woman Indian Astronaut to reach space. She went to space on two missions as a NASA astronaut. She was one of seven crew members in NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia which disintegrated minutes after launching from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.


"None of our astronauts traveled a longer path to space than Kalpana Chawla. She left India as a student but she would see the nation of her birth, all of it, from hundreds of miles above." President George W. Bush spoke about Chawla’s achievements after she tragically died on Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003. 


Indian-origin NASA astronaut Sunita Williams was assigned to the first mission to the International Space Station onboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.



Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide participate in a food tasting session in the Habitability and Environmental Factors Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center on July 1, 2010.


Williams speaking with Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is seen during a tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center in 2018 in Houston, Texas.


Dr. Sharmila Bhattacharya is one of the top Indian-origin scientists at NASA. She is currently studying immune changes during spaceflight and effects of radiation and altered gravity on living systems at NASA Ames Research Center. When Sharmila Bhattacharya was six years old, she asked her father if she could be a pilot even though she was a girl. He replied: “You can be absolutely anything you want to be.” 


Maharashtra-based Manisha Ganeshan is an Atmospheric Scientist for NASA Goddard. Born and raised in Mumbai, Manisha Ganeshan’s life changed forever when the catastrophic Maharashtra Floods hit in 2005. Although she and her family were okay, Ganeshan experienced a “wakeup call” and decided to study climate change. 


Swarupa Nune grew up watching Indian cinema — and now she is a video producer for NASA Goddard. One of her many impressive projects included working with the National Philharmonic Orchestra to marry satellite images with Holst and Debussy compositions.


Indian-origin Mamta Patel Nagaraja really has done it all — from training astronauts to designing scientific instruments, to now communicating NASA's discoveries to the public. “You can do it all. You can be a great mom and a great employee and a great wife and a great daughter, sister, friend,” she says.


Narayanan Ramachandran, a Jacobs Technology engineer at NASA's Marshall Center, gathers velocity data during recent SLS diffuser testing.



Indian-descent Raja Chari was been selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class.



Pooja Jesrani (second from right) with five other flight directors who will lead mission control for a variety of operations at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.


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