Born from humble roots in Karnal, India, Kalpana Chawla traveled one of the longest and hardest roads to become an American astronaut. Though small in stature, she became hugely known the world over as “Kalpana” or “K.C.”, the Indian girl who against all odds wanted to become an aerospace engineer, the Indian girl who wanted to fly and explore and who persevered to make it happen. Her name became known in almost every Indian household, an inspiration to both men and women alike; and in America, her name became synonymous with her diligence and intelligence, as well as with the energy that shown forth from her smile.
But her name had an even greater meaning, especially to her STS-107 astronaut colleagues. For, remarkably, the Sanskrit word “kalpana” means “imagination,” or “a dream,” or “something that is almost impossible to reach.” In this respect, her name applied to each of them! For the STS-107 crew, this Columbia mission into space was a great imagining, a great dream, a great “kalpana” that had taken most of their lives to reach. Each of the seven astronauts had strived hard for so long, individually at first, then together for years as a team, and finally they were soaring to the stars, finally they were working in space! For each of them, it was the highest point of their lives, the big dream come true.
So, although a tribute to them all and especially to Kalpana Chawla, this music represents “kalpana,” the great dream they each had and shared. Listen closely, try to hear it; try to see it clearly, glowing in their faces.
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