Impossible Journey

India's female astronaut

Kalpana Chawla is a household name in India, and a first-name at that. When the space shuttle Columbia crashed this month, the headlines here were all full of "Kalpana," as if there were no need to identify any further the forty-one-year-old astronaut with a doctorate in aerospace engineering. Indians were justly proud of her accomplishments, and felt a vicarious sense of achievement with each new phase of her career.

A woman in...

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About the Author

Jo McGowan, a Commonweal columnist, writes from Deradoon, India.