Kalpana Chawla & Saina Nehwal

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Kalpana Chawla & Saina Nehwal

Kalpana Chawla

Born:  17 March , 1962

Died:  1 February , 2003

  • She was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first female of Indian origin to go to space.
  • She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator.
  • In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor.
  • In 1988, she began working at NASA, where she did computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research on vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concepts.
  •  In 1993, she joined Overset Methods, Inc. as Vice President and Research Scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems.
  • She held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders.
  • After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, she applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps. She joined the corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1996.

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Saina Nehwal

Born: 17 March 1990

  • She is an Indian professional badminton singles player.
  • A former world no. 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which include eleven Superseries titles.
  • Although she reached the world’s 2nd in the 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the world no.1 ranking, thereby becoming the only female player from India and overall the second Indian player – after Prakash Padukone – to achieve this feat.
  • She has represented India three times in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in her second appearance
  • She has achieved several milestones in badminton for India.
  • She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major individual event, namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships.
  • She is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, along with being the only Indian to have won the BWF World Junior Championships or to have reached to the final of the BWF World Championships.
  • In 2006, she became the first Indian female and the youngest Asian to win a 4-star tournament.
  • She also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win a Super Series title.
  • She became the first Indian to win two singles gold medals (2010 and 2018) in Commonwealth Games.
  • In 2016, the Government of India (GoI) conferred the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian award – on her. Previously, the nation’s top two sporting honours, namely the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award, were also conferred on her by the Government of India.

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