Sirisha Bandla, a 34-year-old aeronautical engineer, is about to change into the third Indian-origin girl to go to area when she flies as a part of Virgin Galactic’s first totally crewed flight take a look at on Sunday.

Bandla, who was born in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh and introduced up in Houston, Texas, will be part of Sir Richard Branson, the corporate’s billionaire founder, and 5 others on board Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity to make a journey to the sting of area from New Mexico.

“I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of the amazing crew of #Unity22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all,” she tweeted. Bandla will likely be astronaut no 004 and her flight position will likely be Researcher Experience, in line with her profile on Virgin Galactic.

She will change into the third Indian-origin girl to fly into area after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.

“When I first heard that I was getting this opportunity, it was just. I think that that probably captured it very well, I was speechless. This is an incredible opportunity to get people from different backgrounds, different geographies and different communities into space,” she mentioned in a video posted on Virgin Galactic Twitter on July 6.

Bandla, a Purdue University alumna, will likely be evaluating the human-tended analysis expertise, utilizing an experiment from the University of Florida that requires a number of handheld fixation tubes that will likely be activated at varied factors within the flight profile, an announcement on the Galactic web site mentioned.

Bandla began in her position because the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic in January 2021, the college mentioned in an announcement.

Bandla grew up in Houston, close to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and all the time needed to change into an astronaut. But poor eyesight meant she couldn’t meet the necessities to change into a pilot or an astronaut, derailing her high-school plan to go the Air Force-to-NASA route, she mentioned within the assertion.

“I’ve had fond memories of my time at Purdue,” Bandla said in 2021, “being part of a group of passionate individuals… Purdue built a strong foundation of technical and programmatic principles we all carried into our successful careers.

The flight window for the next rocket-powered test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity opens July 11, pending weather and technical checks, Galactic said in a statement.

The “Unity 22” mission will be the twenty-second flight test for VSS Unity and the company’s fourth crewed spaceflight. It will also be the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including the company’s founder, Sir Branson, who will be testing the private astronaut experience, it said.

“I’ve all the time been a dreamer. My mum taught me to by no means quit and to succeed in for the celebrities. On July 11, it’s time to show that dream right into a actuality aboard the subsequent @VirginGalatic spaceflight,” Branson tweeted following the announcement on July 2.

Building on the success of the corporate’s most up-to-date spaceflight in May, Unity 22 will give attention to cabin and buyer expertise goals.


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