It is finally confirmed that Priyanka Chopra will play Kalpana Chawla in the astronaut’s biopic. The news was confirmed by director Priya Mishra, who makes her debut with this biopic. She told Mid-Day, “I have been working on it for the past seven years. A new production banner will back the project.” For the longest time, reports of the actress taking up the role has been doing the rounds. However, there was never a confirmation on the same until today. Turns out, the filmmaker has been in touch with Chawla’s parents and discussed this project as well. She further added, “I was last heading a TV channel creatively and post 2011, quit to pursue filmmaking. This is one of the two scripts that I have written.” The film will be released on a grand scale as the production will be promoting it internationally as well. Considering Kalpana Chawla’s background, it does make sense to promote it internationally, especially in the USA. Speaking of which, here are a few facts about the late astronaut that we believe you must know, to know exactly what to expect of the biopic.

ALSO READ – Confirmed! Priyanka Chopra to play Kalpana Chawla in the astronaut’s biopic

Indian born astronaut – 

Born in Karnal, India, Kalpana was the youngest of the four children in the Chawla household. She completed her graduation in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College. She would’ve celebrated her 55th birthday on March 17 this year, had the tragedy not struck.

Became a naturalized US citizen in 1980s –

After having immigrated to the United States, Chawla became a naturalised citizen in the 1980s. She soon earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988 after achieving her masters degree from the University of Texas. In the same year, she started working at the NASA Ames Research Center on power-lift computational fluid dynamics.

Married Jean-Pierre Harrison – 

Kalpana married Jean-Pierre Harrison in 1983. They met in September 1982, a day after she had moved to University of Texas at Arlington to complete her masters degree. With a background in aviation, Harrison tutored while writing and publishing pilot training materials. After her death, he even released a biography of the late astronaut.

Joined NASA Astronaut Corps – 

In 1995, she was selected as an astronaut candidate.

First flying opportunity – 

Kalpana’s first flying opportunity came in November 1997, when she, along with a crew of six, boarded the space shuttle Columbia on flight STS-87. She was the first Indian-born woman and second Indian to have travelled in space. The shuttle made 252 orbits of the Earth in just over two weeks.

Tragedy occurred in 2003 – 

On her second mission to space, Chawla’s space shuttle returned to Earth, intending to land at the Kennedy Space Center. However, things went awry when a briefcase sized piece of insulation broke off, damaging the thermal protection system of the shuttle’s wing. With the protection wing damaged, hot gas streamed into the wing, causing it to break. As the shuttle passed through the atmosphere, the ship depressurised and killed the crew. The crash took place over Texas and Louisiana. It was the second major accident for a space shuttle that took place, following the 1986 explosion of the shuttle named Challenger.

Kalpana was posthumously honoured for her contribution – 

The late astronaut was posthumously honoured with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

To this day, Kalpana remains an inspiration to many girls who believe sky is the limit. And yes, with the way Priyanka has carved a niche for herself in one of the most competitive industries, clearly, she is the one, who can beautifully portray the late astronaut. What do you think? Tell us in the comments box below.