Jump to navigation
As Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson announced his first trip to space just ahead of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the billionaire will be accompanied by an Indian onboard. Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations for the company, will be among the five passengers hopping on the trip with Branson.
Hailing from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Sirisha will be the second Indian-born woman to go into space after Kalpana Chawla, who died in the tragic Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Sirisha joined Virgin Galactic in 2015 as government affairs manager and has since then risen through the ranks. She has also handling Washington operations for Virgin Orbit, which recently delivered a satellite in space using a 747 plane. A graduate of Purdue University, Sirisha has a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University.
“Of course, the coolest thing is that she gets to hobnob with Richard Branson! We all are very proud of her and wishing her safe travels!’’ Sirisha’s relative Ramarao Kanneganti said. During her stay in the US, Sirisha has also been closely associated with the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), which is the oldest and biggest Indo-American organization in North America.
While Sirisha will be the second Indian woman in Space, she will be the fourth Indian to achieve the feat. While Rakesh Sharma is the first Indian ever to go into space, Sirisha is preceded by Kalpana Chawla and Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams.
Branson’s company announced Thursday evening that its next test flight will be July 11 and that its founder will be among the six people on board. The winged rocket ship will soar from New Mexico — the first carrying a full crew of company employees. It will be only the fourth trip to space for Virgin Galactic.
The news came just hours after Bezos’ Blue Origin said Bezos would be accompanied into space on July 20 by a female aerospace pioneer who’s waited 60 years to rocket away.
Amazon’s founder will be on Blue Origin’s debut launch with people on board, accompanied by his brother, the winner of a $28 million charity auction and Wally Funk, one of the last surviving members of the Mercury 13 who was chosen as his “honoured guest.”
Amazon, Virgin and SpaceX are now in a tight race to outcompete each other when it comes to commercial space operations. While Bezos and Branson head out, Elon Musk has been working on plans to send people to Mars with his Starship project.
Click here for IndiaToday.in’s complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hibatullah Akhundzada to lead Taliban govt in Afghanistan
We were sitting inside, thought we’d die: Assam boat tragedy survivor recounts horror
Thalaivii Movie Review: Kangana Ranaut is no match for J Jayalalithaa’s tenacity
Chandrayaan-2 finds water-ice on permanently shadowed region of Moon
Continuous rainfall causes waterlogging in Delhi
Watch: Pala Bishop’s ‘narcotic jihad’ remark fuels political row in Kerala
Watch: Many Taliban ministers on global terror watchlist
Delhi Imposed Rs 135 crore Fine in 4 Months For Violating COVID-19 Norms
Shilpa Shetty celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi, Salman Khan treats fans to Antim song Vighnaharta
Vijay Rupani quits, 4th BJP chief minister to resign in 6 months
Watch: Haryana govt to conduct judicial inquiry into Karnal lathi-charge
Decoding the politics of caste census and OBC votes
Copyright © 2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today