Aeronautical engineer Sirisha Bandla on Sunday became the third Indian origin woman to fly into space when she joined British billionaire Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic’s first fully-crewed successful suborbital test flight from the US state of New Mexico.
Who is Sirisha?
Born in India , Sirisha Bandla left for space from the space station in New Mexico. With this, she became the second woman born in India to travel in space. Earlier, Kalpana Chawla, who was born in Haryana, had flown in space. Besides, Indian-origin Sunita Williams have also travelled to space.
Sirisha was born in 1987 in Chirala, Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Her father B Muralidhar and mother Anuradha used to work in America. Sirisha moved from Andhra Pradesh to America at the age of 4, dreaming of going to space.
Since childhood, Sirisha liked to know about people related to space around. Sirisha had told in an interview that, “I started seeing how people become astronauts. After that I decided to make my career in this field.”
Sirisha graduated in Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering in 2011. Sirisha wanted to go to NASA, but due to some defect in the eye, it could not happen. Then one of his professors advised him to choose space policy as her subject. In this, government policies related to space are studied. Later, Sirisha studied MBA from George Washington University in 2015
In July 2015, Sirisha joined Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic. Impressed by her work in just two years, the company promoted her and made her Business Development and Government Affairs Manager of Virgin Galactic in 2017. Having received 3 promotions in 6 years, Sirisha is now the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations of Virgin Galactic Company.
Virgin founder Richard Branson said, “There will be a total of 6 people on the Virgin Orbit flight. In which I myself am included. We want to take the employees of the company before we take anyone else to space. This will be our fourth flight into space.”
What was this space trip like?
VSS Unity 22 gone up to a height of about 90 km i.e. 2.95 lakh feet from the earth. Sirisha and her fellow astronauts felt weightless in space for about 4 minutes. From there the earth appears round. After this, this flight returned to Earth and land on the runway of the spaceport.