Remembering Dr. Kalpana Chawla 15 Years after Columbia Disaster

Dr. Kalpana Chawla is the first Indian born female astronaut to travel out of Earth’s atmosphere who continues to inspire many young minds across the globe. The year 2018 marks 15 years of the tragic disaster which took the inspiring personality from Karnal away from us.

On the occasion, Punjab Engineering College organized an event in memory of its star alumnus, Dr. Kaplana Chawla, who graduated from Aerospace Engineering Department of PEC in 1982, with Bachelors of Engineering degree. The event saw special guests in the form of professors who have taught Dr. Chawla. A special video prepared by projection and design club of PEC on the journey of Dr. Kalpana Chawla was also played. Prof. S C Sharma, teacher of Dr. Chawla and former Head of Aerospace engineering department at PEC, narrated many anecdotes of Kaplana Chawla to the audience. Professor Sharma shared how Kalpana was a ‘different’ student, with a spark in her eyes, who was so confident to come up with well framed questions for her teachers. He narrated an incident where Dr. Chawla showed courage to lead her class along with showing commitment towards studies.

Dr. Frank Lu, Professor, University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and Head of Aerodynamic Research Center, was also present on the occasion. Kalpana Chawla did her masters at UTA. Inspiring the young students present Dr. Lu also presented artefacts to PEC which he carried with him all along from UTA.

Dr. Frank Lu, known for his work on Pulse Detonation Engine, on the occasion expressed the desire to connect PEC with UTA. Various possibilities of collaboration were discussed in a board meeting.

Another special guest was Dr. Li Ming, senior research scientist from National University of Singapore. Dr Li Ming also interacted with students.

The event concluded with the tree plantation by Dr Frank Lu and Dr. Li Ming in the premises of Aerospace Engineering Department of PEC.

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