Indian-origin Sirisha Bandla made a successful space flight from Virgin Galactic’s Unity-22 at 8 pm on Sunday night. For the fourth time an Indian has stepped into space. Sirisha Bandla is the fourth Indian-origin and third Indian-origin woman to have flown into space. Earlier, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams have traveled to space and the space station.
Sirisha Bandla has embarked on a space walk aboard Richard Branson’s space company Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft VSS Unity. Sirisha Bandla is one of Richard Branson’s five astronauts. Sirisha is the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations for Virgin Galactic Company. In just six years, Sirisha has achieved such a senior position in Virgin Galactic.
VSS Unity is also being called as Unity 22. Altogether 6 people are going in it. Two pilots and four passengers. This crew also includes Richard Branson. It was launched from Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Unity vehicle was put on top of the VMS Eve and left it at a height of 50 thousand feet. After this the spacecraft itself moved towards space. This space journey will be about 1 hour and 5 minutes. After that VSS Unity will land back on the spaceport. After about the same time, this spacecraft of Virgin Galactic landed safely at Spaceport America at around 9.20 pm. All passengers were safe and happy.
The total time from launch to landing from the spaceport was about 90 minutes. VSS Unity was in low Earth orbit for about four minutes. During this, the astronauts felt feel zero gravity. Richard was accompanied by Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, Vice President, Government Affairs and Research Operations.
Sirisha is also associated with the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). It is the oldest and largest Indo-American organization in North America. A few years back, TANA had honored Sirisha with the Youth Star Award. In addition, Sirisha is on the board of directors of the American Astronautical Society and the Future Space Leaders Foundation. She is also a member of Purdue University’s Young Professional Advisory Council.