UT Arlington will remember alumna and Columbia astronaut Kalpana Chawla through events planned for Thursday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 1, the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster that killed her and six fellow astronauts.
A vigil and storytelling at Kalpana Chawla Hall begins at 6 p.m. today. Each person participating will be given a flameless candle, and there will be a moment of silence. Flags of the United States and India will be displayed to honor Chawla as the first Indian-American woman in space.
At 7:59 a.m. Friday—the time and date NASA Mission Control lost contact with Columbia—white biodegradable balloons will be released outside KC Hall.
In Nedderman Hall, Chawla’s flight suits, several photographs, and historical and biographical information about her and the space program are on permanent display. Also included are a flag flown over Johnson Space Center during the memorial for the fallen Columbia astronauts.
Chawla was one of the University’s most celebrated graduates. She earned her Masters of Science degree in aerospace engineering in 1984 before becoming an astronaut.