Andhra Pradesh born, Sirisha Bandla has made it to the headlines as the second Indian-origin woman to fly to space after Kalpana Chawla. She will be one of the six space travellers aboard ‘Virgin Space Ship Unity’ of Virgin Galactic, which is scheduled to take off from New Mexico along with the company’s founder Richard Branson on July 11.
The Telugu woman from Guntur district in Andhra, was brought up in Houston. Prior to Bandla, Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams were the other Indians who went into space.
The 34-year-old aeronautical engineer, taking it to Twitter 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 tweeted.
Talking to news agency ANI, Dr. Ragaiah, Bandla’s paternal grandfather told Sirisha is brave and strong when making decisions, “I am overwhelmed with joy and happiness that my second granddaughter is going to space. She has been very brave right from the beginning and is a very strong decision-maker. She completed her schooling in the US. She has always had a fascination for the sky,” the 85-year-old said.
In 2011, Bandla completed her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University and in 2015, pursued her MBA from George Washington University.
After completing her studies, Sirisha joined Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and at present, she is the Vice President of Government Affairs at the British-American spaceflight company.