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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Who is Shawna Pandya, the 3rd Indian-origin woman to go to space?

After Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, it's time for another Indian-origin woman to fly to space. In a few months from now, Shawna Pandya will become the third Indian-origin woman to go to space.

Shawna is a 32-year-old general physician. She is one of the two candidates who were shortlisted from 3,200 people who enrolled in the Citizen Science Astronaut (CSA) program.

This space mission, slated for 2018, will have eight other astronauts on board.

Apart from an being astronaut, Shawna has a lot going on. She is an author, an international taekwondo champion and has trained in Muay Thai with a Navy SEAL (The United States Navy's "Sea, Air, and Land" Teams).

She is also an opera singer, and works at Alberta University hospital as a neurosurgeon.

If all this is not enough, she is an also entrepreneur and has even walked the runway as a model. Shawna is fluent in Spanish, Russian and French languages.

The 2018 space mission she is up for is called Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM) aimed at studying the effects of climate change.

She will also be working on a micro-gravity human research program which is to conduct cross-disciplinary research into commercial human spaceflight.

Shawna is also a part of Project Poseidon -- a 100-day underwater mission at the Aquarius Space Research Facility in Florida, which is the world's only undersea laboratory dedicated to science and education.

In an interview to Hindustan Times, she said,
"There is tremendous potential in India. When I talk to students and undergraduates, I realise they have the zeal to venture out, but aren't always aware of the ways in which they can. All we need is to get acquainted with everyday developments in science, be resilient and always try to achieve something bigger."

"If it's your time, it's your time; if it's not, it's not. I don't know much but I do know this: every day is a gift." - Shawna Pandya

(Source: India Today)

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