Quoted as a national hero, Chawla was inclined towards flying and had keen interest in aeroplanes since she was a child.
She would visit local flying clubs with her father to watch planes.
Chawla embarked on her first space mission in Space on 19 November 1997 with six crew members and died on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle crew perished during entry into Earth.
She was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and has a dedicated supercomputer at NASA.
She remains a huge inspiration for young girls and women interested in exploring space. Her contribution to space science was honoured in the year 2005 when the Indian satellite MetSat-1 was named Kalpana-1.