Two University of Colorado alums will make their first journeys into space on Wednesday, Nov. 19, when NASAs space shuttle Columbia blasts off from Cape Kennedy, bringing the total number of CU-Boulder astronaut alums to 15.
Kalpana Chawla, an American who was born in India, received her doctorate in aerospace engineering from CU-Boulder in 1988 under Professor C.Y. Chow. Takao Doi, a Japanese astronaut, did postdoctoral work at CU-Boulder in 1987 and 1988 with Professor Jean Koster and was an associate professor adjoint in the CU-Boulder engineering college from 1991 to 1995.
The two are part of a six-person crew set to launch on the Columbia at 4:46 p.m. MST Nov. 19 on a 16-day mission to study the suns outer atmosphere. The crew will deploy and retrieve a satellite that will gather solar information. They also will conduct a number of microgravity experiments.
Both Chawla, 36, and Doi, 43, entered the one-year NASA astronaut training program at Houstons Johnson Space Center in March 1995.
Kalpana will be the second woman astronaut from CU-Boulder. Marsha Ivins, who graduated from CU-Boulder with a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering in 1973, has flown on four NASA space shuttle missions, most recently in January 1997.
One highlight of the Columbia flight will be a spacewalk by American astronaut Winston Scott and Doi. Doi, who will become the first Japanese astronaut to walk in space, will be practicing various assembly techniques with Scott for the planned International Space Station. He will be the fourth Japanese astronaut to take part in a U.S. shuttle mission.
The crew also includes Commander Kevin Kregel, Pilot Steven Lindsey and and guest astronaut and Payload Specialist Leonid Kadenyuk from the Ukraine.
Color images of Chawla can be downloaded from the World Wide Web at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/portraits/chawla.jpg.
Color images of Doi can be downloaded from the World Wide Web at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/portraits/doi.jpg.