Who Is Sirisha Bandla: Indian American Sirisha Bandla is all set to join Virgin Galactic’s founder Richard Branson on a trip to space along with four other members. Bandla will be soaring in the Virgin Galactic’s winged rocket ship from New Mexico.
Sirisha Bandla will be the backbone of the operation that plans to launch test spaceflight on July 11. A source of pride for all Indians and Indian-Americans alike, Bandla will be observed appraising the human-tended research experience during the trip. She and Beth Moses will be the two female crew amidst the six Virgin Galactic employees on the trip.
“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,” Sirisha Bandla told NBC.
“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.
Who is Sirisha Bandla?
- Bandla (34), born in Guntur Andhra Pradesh, will be the second Indian-born woman to go into space. The Telugu-origin scientist grew up in Houston, Texas.
- Bandla began her career at Virgin Galactic in 2015 as a government affairs manager and has subsequently progressed through the company’s ranks. She is now the Vice President of Government Affairs for Virgin Galactic.
- The aeronautical engineer was also a part of the management team of the Washington operations for Virgin Orbit. The team recently launched a satellite in space using a 747 plane.
- Bandla has graduated in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University.
- After completing her bachelors, Bandla worked for a space policy job at the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF).
- Prior to joining CSF, she worked at L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, as an aerospace engineer designing sophisticated aircraft components.
- Bandla currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the American Astronautical Society and Future Space Leaders Foundation. She is also a member of Purdue University’s Young Professional Advisory Council.
- Bandla will be the fourth Indian to fly into space, and the second Indian woman to achieve the feat. She is preceded by Rakesh Sharma, who was the first Indian ever to go into space, Kalpana Chawla and Indian American Astronaut Sunita Williams.
- Sirisha Bandla is a prominent member of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), which is the oldest and largest Indo-American organisation in North America. On woman’s day 2014, Sirisha was awarded the TANA Youth Star Award for achieving great milestones in her career.
- Additionally, Bandla assists with the coordination of the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program, a mentorship programme for students interested in a career in the commercial space technological industry.
Feature Image Credit: The New Indian Express