Sirisha Bandla’s Space Odyssey Could Lead to “Private Astronaut Experience” – The New Indian Express

Express news service

GUNTUR: On July 11, Sirisha Bandla will be the first person from Andhra Pradesh and the second woman born in India to fly into space. The 34-year-old, born in Tenali in the Guntur District and raised in Houston, Texas, USA, is one of six crew members of VSS Unity – the suborbital rocket-propelled space plane of Virgin Galactic – which includes company founder Richard Branson (70).

She is vice president of government affairs and the research operations wing of Virgin Galactic and its sister company, Virgin Orbit. “I have always seen her zeal to achieve something great and finally, she will make her dream come true. I am sure that she will succeed in this mission and make the whole country proud, ”said Sirisha’s grandfather, Bandla Ragaiah, agronomist and resident of Janapdu village in Piduguralla, Guntur district.

The proud grandfather recalled that Sirisha had always been active and fearless. Sirisha was born in 1987 in Tenali and immigrated to the United States with her parents at the age of 5. Her father, Dr. Bandla Muralidhar, is also a scientist and a member of the United States Government’s Senior Executive Services. His mother is Bandla Anuradha. Sirisha has always been in love with space and wanted to be a part of the space industry.

Her favorite hobby is playing the cello and she was part of her high school debate team and loved math which shaped her character and career. During spaceflight, which is the 22nd for VSS Unity and Galactic’s fourth crewed mission, Sirisha will assess the research experience with an experiment from the University of Florida, using a number of portable fixation tubes. She studied aeronautical engineering at Purdue University and also holds an MBA from George Washington University.

Sirisha rose through the ranks at Virgin Galactic

After graduation, Sirisha worked in the Space Policy Department of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), an industry association of space flight companies. In 2015, she joined Virgin Galactic as a member of Government Affairs and Research Operations and was subsequently promoted to Vice President. Richard Branson announced Thursday that he will join the crew of his next space flight with Virgin Galactic, overtaking billionaire Jeff Bezos. Amazon founder Bezos is expected to join the crew of the first flight of his Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft on July 20.

The other VSS Unity crew members are pilots Dave Mackay and Michale Masucci, who previously piloted the ship, Galactic chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, and chief operations engineer Colin Bennet. The operation will be launched from a port in New Mexico. Depending on the space. com, Unity will be transported to an altitude of 50,000 feet by VMS Eve, the carrier aircraft. At this altitude, Unity will be jettisoned and it will be propelled into space by its rocket engine.

According to a statement from Galactic, Branson, who turns 71 next week, will join the crew for a “private astronaut experience” and he himself has said in interviews that it took them 17 years to get it. get to this point. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, the new commercial space industry is poised to open the universe to humanity and change the world for good,” he said.

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