US President Donald Trump called late Kalpana Chawla, Indian-origin astronaut, an ‘American hero’ and an ‘inspiration for millions of American girls.’ Trump, while praising Chawla, as per TimessNow, said, “Indian American Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to fly in space, and became an American hero for her devotion to the Space Shuttle programme and its various missions transporting cargo and crew to and from the International Space Station,” Trump said. The US Congress honours the month of May each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month”.
Trump, as per the same reports, added, “Miss Chawla’s courage and passion continue to serve as an inspiration for millions of American girls who dream of one day becoming astronauts. Through their industriousness and love of country, our nation has enjoyed the privileges and enrichment of multiple innovations and societal advancements.”
The US President said the same while issuing an official directive announcing May month as ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month’. He recalled that Congress had posthumously awarded Chawla the Congressional Space Medal of Honour. He added that National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) posthumously bestowed the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal upon her.
Kalpana Chawla was one of the seven-crew members who died when space shuttle Columbia broke apart while returning to Earth on February 1, 2003.