Kalpana Chawla Biography, Height, Age, Husband, Family, & More

Kalpana Chawla, an Indian-born American astronaut and aerospace engineer, achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first woman of Indian origin to venture into space. Tragically, six years later, on February 1, 2003, her life was cut short when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in the loss of all seven astronauts on board. She held the distinction of being the first Indian-American astronaut and the pioneer Indian woman to journey into space. Her second spaceflight took place during STS-107, which marked the final mission of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. In this article, you’ll find a comprehensive Kalpana Chawla biography.

Kalpana Chawla Biography

Kalpana Chawla was born in the picturesque town of Karnal, India, where her journey from humble beginnings to soaring into the boundless skies above serves as a testament to her indomitable spirit and determination. Her remarkable story, documented in the NASA Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report, was made public in 2008, shedding light on the events that unfolded during her space mission. Hailing from the village of Karnal in Punjab, Kalpana Chawla defied all odds to pursue her dreams, which led her to the stars. Her journey has become an inspiration, particularly for the youth of India and aspiring individuals worldwide who harbor dreams of venturing into the realm of space exploration.

Kalpana Chawla Picture
Kalpana Chawla Picture

Personal Information

Real Name Kalpana Chawla
Nickname AKA Monto
DOB (Date of Birth) 17 March 1962
Age 61 Years
Birth Place Karnal, Haryana, India
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Nationality American
Hometown Texas, U.S.
Religion Hinduism


School Tagore Bal Niketan School, Karnal
College Dyal Singh College, Karnal, Haryana
Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh, India
University The University of Texas, Arlington, Texas, U.S.
The University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.

Physical Stats


Feet & Inches 5’ 4”
Meter 1.63 m
Centimeters 163 cm
Eye Color Dark Brown
Hair Color Black
Figure Measurements 33-30-32

Family Information

Father Name Banarasi Lal Chawla
Mother Name Sanjyothi Chawla
Brothers Sanjay
Sisters Sunita, Dipa, and 1 other
Husband Jean-Pierre Harrison (flying instructor and an aviation author)
Children N/A


Boyfriend Jean-Pierre Harrison


Profession Astronaut
Net Worth $18 Million


Color Green
Food American Cuisine
Drink Tea
Actor/Actress Walter Bruce Willis, Demi Moore
Songs Sai Tere Naam Ke Deewane
Movies  Nova (1974)
Hobbies Reading Poetry, playing Badminton, dancing
Kalpana Chawla Childhood Picture
Kalpana Chawla Childhood Picture
Kalpana Chawla Young Age Picture
Kalpana Chawla Young Age Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Family Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Family Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Husband Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Husband Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Father Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Father Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Mother Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Mother Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Brother Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Brother Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Sister Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Sister Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Husband Picture
Kalpana Chawla With her Husband Picture


Kalpana Chawla’s family consisted of her father, Banarasi Lal Chawla, her mother, Sanjyothi Chawla, and her siblings, two sisters named Sunita and Deepa, and a brother named Sanjay. They were an integral part of her life and upbringing.


Kalpana Chawla was born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, India, which makes her 61 years old as of now.


Kalpana Chawla’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Panjab Engineering College, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas-Arlington, and a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her academic achievements reflect her dedication to her field of aerospace engineering.

Height and Weight

Her approximate height is 5 feet 6 inches, and she has a weight of approximately 59 kilograms.

Kalpana Chawla Social Media Accounts

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Kalpana Chawla married Jean-Pierre Harrison in the year 1983. Jean-Pierre Harrison was an aviation author and a flying instructor. Their marriage marked an important chapter in her life.

Early life

Kalpana Chawla, affectionately known as Mantu to her parents, had an extraordinary passion for flying from a young age. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Technical College in India in 1982. Her fascination with aviation began when she was just three or four years old, watching airplanes soar above her house. Accompanying her father to a local flying club became a regular childhood activity. In school, her teacher observed her penchant for crafting paper airplanes and flying them during her free time. Kalpana’s love for flying extended beyond paper airplanes; she later earned her pilot’s license and enjoyed flying tail-wheel and aerobatic planes.


Kalpana Chawla embarked on her journey with NASA in 1988 when she started working at the NASA Ames Research Center. Her research primarily revolved around computational fluid dynamics (CFD), focusing on motorized lifts and vertical/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) concepts. Her work delved into the intricate modeling of airflow patterns, particularly those near aircraft, with a special emphasis on the Harrier aircraft’s ground impact. The fruits of Chawla’s research efforts found their way into numerous technical journals and conference papers, showcasing her contributions to the field of aerodynamics. She also developed and implemented aerodynamic optimization methods.


The tragic loss of Kalpana Chawla and her fellow crew members occurred on February 1, 2003, during the ill-fated mission STS-107 of the Space Shuttle Columbia. This disaster unfolded when the Space Shuttle disintegrated over the state of Texas while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. All seven dedicated crew members on board, including Kalpana Chawla, tragically lost their lives.


Kalpana Chawla’s remarkable contributions to space exploration were recognized with several prestigious awards and honors, even posthumously. Among these, she was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, a tribute to her outstanding achievements and dedication to space exploration.

Net Worth

Kalpana Chawla, the astronaut, possessed an estimated net worth of $18 million.

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