Navratri Special: Even NASA’s ‘No’ did not break the spirit of Sirisha, the third Indian to travel to space


If the spirits are high, then despite the initial failures, a person finds his destination. Indian-origin Sirisha Bandla is a living example of this. Actually, Sirisha used to dream of traveling in the world of moon and stars since childhood. However, his dream of joining the US space agency NASA was shattered on medical grounds. Despite this, he did not lose his courage.

With her excellent understanding of astronomy, she not only managed to achieve a high position among the top private space companies at a very young age, but also fulfilled her dream of space travel in July 2021.

The third Indian to travel to space

On the night of July 11, Sirisha became the third Indian woman to travel to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. In Sunita’s account, the achievement of walking in space seven times is also recorded. At the same time, Rakesh Sharma, who was associated with the Indian Air Force, is the only Indian citizen to fly in space.

But did not get the status of astronaut

During the space journey, Sirisha flew at an altitude of 89.9 km from the earth. However, she was not part of the crew of ‘Unity-22’, as it was a self-propelled vehicle. For this reason the Federal Aviation Authority has classified him as a ‘space tourist’ rather than an ‘astronaut’.


impact on plants

Sirisha, Vice President of Research Operations and Government Affairs at Virgin Galactic, traveled to space with company founders Sir Richard Branson, Dave McKay, Michael Masucci, Beth Moses and Colin Bennett. During this, he did a research for the University of Florida, whose purpose was to assess the effect of changing gravity on plants.

Born in Andhra Pradesh

Sirisha was born in 1988 in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh to a Telugu speaking Hindu family. She lived with her grandparents till the age of five, after which she moved to Houston with her parents. Graduated in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, MBA from Georgetown University.

weak light broke the dream

Sirisha wanted to become a NASA astronaut since childhood, but due to weak light, her dream remained incomplete. After this, worked as an aerospace engineer in the ‘Commercial Spaceflight Federation’, joined ‘Virgin Galactic’ in 2015.


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