Prime Minister Narendra Modi met deceased astronaut Kalpana Chawla’s family and paid his respects to the astronauts who lost their lives in the Columbia space shuttle crash of 2003. The Indian Prime Minister laid a wreath at the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ and ‘Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial’ at the Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. The event was attended by Kalpana Chawla’s husband Jean Pierre Harrison, officials of NASA, and the family of Sunita Williams.
Harrison also gifted the Prime Minister a copy of Chawla’s biography written by him.
A Few words by Kalpana Chawla’s Niece
Sunita Williams said on the occasion,
“She was a great friend, a mentor and someone you could always sit down and have a cup of tea with. Great person”.
When asked on India-US collaboration on space exploration, she added
"Right now that is not my field of expertise. I am sort of heads down in a new spacecraft that we’re building here. But I have had the opportunity to go to India and talk to many people who are very interested in space collaboration and the space adventure. So I have a feeling, you know, I think most people in India are excited about space as well as about how we are excited about space adventure.”
Assistant Director of NASA Steven G. Schmidt who was also present at the event, said, “We have a wonderful collaboration of NASA and ISRO, never been stronger. All the way to Mars!”