The third Indian woman to go to space, Sirisha Bandla’s flight to the edge of space on billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane is now being celebrated by the country. Just an hour after leaving the ground, the rocket flew high above New Mexico in the US before returning to Earth.
Sir Richard called the trip the “experience of a lifetime”. This makes the UK entrepreneur the first of the new space tourism pioneers to try out their own vehicles, beating Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and SpaceX’s Elon Musk.
Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Ms Bandla grew up in Houston, Texas and worked as the vice president of government affairs and research operations at Virgin Galactic. She is part of the six-passenger, two-pilot “VSS Unity”, one of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicles, flew a brief mission to suborbital space on 11 July 2021, ahead of Jeff Bezos.
This is the fourth crewed flight of this spaceplane but the first ever to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists, which include Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group. The event is the new age of commercial space travel, with very exciting times ahead of us.
After UK billionaire and founder of the Virgin Galactic company Richard Branson announced on June 2 that he will make a spaceflight on July 11, space enthusiasts went bonkers. After Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, Ms Bandla who flew to space from India is said to had the ambition to explore the sky, the moon, and the stars from her childhood.