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Sirisha Bandla: India-born woman who is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic flight

From left: Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci. (AP)Premium
From left: Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci. (AP)

  • India-born Sirisha Bandla to fly into space with Virgin's Richard Branson
  • Sirisha Bandla to become second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla

Sirisha Bandla who is part of six space travellers aboard 'VSS Unity' of Virgin Galactic will become the second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla. According to a report by the news agency, ANI Sirisha Bandla was born in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district was brought up in Houston.

A Virgin Galactic test flight is all set to travel to the edge of space on 11 July and billionaire Richard Branson will also be a part of the six-member team of 'VSS Unity'.which is scheduled to take off to space on 11 July from New Mexico

Indian-origin astronaut, Sirisha Bandla will be taking care of the researcher experience on the Unity22 mission, when a Virgin Galactic test flight travels to the edge of space on July 11.

Taking to Twitter, the 34-year-old aeronautical engineer shared she was "incredibly honoured" to be part of the crew.

"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 posted.

Sirisha Bandla, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic. "Bandla will be evaluating the human-tended research experience, using an experiment from the University of Florida that requires several handheld fixation tubes that will be activated at various points in the flight profile," according to a statement by the Vigin Galactic.

Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams were the other Indians who went into space prior to Bandla.

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also shared two pictures - one featuring all five members of the crew and a solo photo of Sirisha Bandla on his official Twitter handle.

"Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11th, Sirisha Bandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with Richard Branson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud!," the former Chief Minister tweeted.

UK billionaire and founder of the Virgin Galactic company Richard Branson announced on June 2 that he will make a spaceflight on July 11, earlier than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

"I've always been a dreamer. My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars. On July 11, it's time to turn that dream into a reality aboard the next @VirginGalactic spaceflight," Branson tweeted on late Thursday.

“After more than 16 years of research, engineering, and testing, Virgin Galactic stands at the vanguard of a new commercial space industry, which is set to open space to humankind and change the world for good," Branson said in the statement.

The company confirmed the information and published a video, presenting six crew members of the next spaceflight, including Bandla.

"Join us July 11th for our first fully crewed rocket powered test flight, and the beginning of a new space age. The countdown begins," the company wrote on its Twitter page.

Bezos is also going to make a spaceflight on board the New Shepard spaceship, which is scheduled for July 20.

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