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An American commercial cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has been named after fallen NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the first India-born woman to enter space, for her key contributions to human spaceflight.

Northrop Grumman, an American global aerospace and defence technology company, announced that its next Cygnus capsule will be named the “S.S. Kalpana Chawla”, in memory of the mission specialist who died aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.

“Today we honour Kalpana Chawla, who made history at @NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact,” the company tweeted on Wednesday. 

The S S Kalpana Chawla capsule is scheduled to launch on the NG-14 mission atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on September 29. The spacecraft will arrive at and be attached to the space station two days later.

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