August 2021 \ News \
Bandla reaches space on board VSS Unity 22

Sirisha Bandla vaulted into space on July 11 on board VSS ...

It was a space race between the maverick British billionaire, the global American entrepreneur Bezos, and Elon Musk, the developer of the Tesla electric vehicle, vying for domination of the multi-billion-dollar private space business that would range from tourism and research to commercial and government satellite deployment.

Characteristic of a Branson enterprise, the spaceflight had the pizzaz of show business and advertising for companies involved in the project. Grammy-winning musician Khaled performed for the flight. The host of a light TV show, Stephen Colbert emceed the start of the broadcast by Virgin Galactic.

Another Indian American, Raj Chari, is in the US astronaut programme and is scheduled to command a flight later this year. Sharma flew aboard the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft in 1984. Kalpana Chawla, who was born in Karnal, first flew into space in 1997 on Space Shuttle Columbia but died on her second flight in 2001 when the spacecraft burned on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Williams, a US Navy pilot, was a commander of Expedition 33 to the Space Station.