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Get To Know Sirisha Bandla, The Indian-American All Set To Fly To Space With Richard Branson

Who Is Sirisha Bandla
Sirisha Bandla will be flying to space with the spaceflight corporation Virgin Galactic’s founder Richard Branson on July 11.

Bandla is the company’s Vice President of government affairs and research operations. She will be one among the five passengers accompanying Branson. Originally from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Sirisha Bandla will be the fourth Indian to visit space preceded by Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.

While talking to NBC news, Bandla spoke about her “life-changing” experience. She said, “I am kind of still up there but it’s so glad to be here. I was trying to think about a better word than incredible but that is the only word that can come to my mind… Seeing the view of Earth is so life-changing but also the boost the rocket motor kicking in.”

“The whole trip to space and back is just amazing,” she added.

Here are 10 things we know about Sirisha Bandla

  1. Sirisha Bandla joined Virgin Galactic in 2015 as government affairs manager. Since then, she has risen in ranks. She also handled Washington operations for Virgin Orbit. Recently, it delivered a satellite in space using a 747 plane.
  2. Bandla has a Bachelors of Science degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering from Purdue University and holds an MBA degree from George Washington University.
  3. She has also been associated with the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). It is North America’s oldest and biggest Indo-American organisation. A few years back, TANA honoured her with the Youth Star Award.
  4. Sirisha Bandala presently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Astronautical Society and Future Space Leaders Foundation. She is also a member of the Young Professional Advisory Council at Purdue University.
  5. Bandla also helps in coordinating the Mathew Isakowitz Fellowship Program. It is an internship, mentorship, and networking opportunity given to exceptional college juniors, seniors, and graduate students who pursue careers in the commercial spaceflight industry.
    During her flight to space, Bandla will be a part of the winged rocket ship flying from New Mexico. She will be in charge of evaluating the human tended research experience during the flight.
  6. Bandla always wanted to be a part of the space industry and visit space. “I was one of those kids that wanted to be an astronaut and go into space, and that’s something that I never grew out of,” she said in an interview.
  7. “I grew up in Houston, Texas, so we had Johnson Space Centre right down the street. We took a lot of field trips there and it really instilled in my mind how cool space was to me,” she said in the same interview.
  8. Growing up, Bandla wanted to go to the Air Force Route to become an Air Force pilot and eventually a NASA astronaut but could not fulfil her dream due to poor eyesight.
  9. Talking about the changes she would like to see in the space industry in the coming years she said that from a policy point of view, the doors need to be kept open so that innovation can continue without regulatory and legislative burdens.