Indian-origin Shawna Pandya onboard Virgin Galactic's new space research flight

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 20, 2024 IST

Shawna Pandya

New Delhi, June 20: Indian-origin researcher Shawna Pandya will be part of the second research mission by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) to fly to space aboard the Delta Class spaceship. 

It will be the second research mission that IIAS is conducting with Virgin Galactic after the 'Galactic 05' mission in November 2023, which tested novel healthcare technologies and examined how fluids behaved in low-gravity to help inform designs for future medical technologies and life-support systems.

The IIAS astronaut crew expected in the research mission includes Kellie Gerardi, a bioastronautics researcher and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations; Pandya, a physician, aquanaut, bioastronautics researcher, and Director of IIAS' Space Medicine Group, from Canada; and Norah Patten, an aeronautical engineer and bioastronautics researcher from Ireland.

Pandya was on the first crew to test a commercial spacesuit in zero gravity in 2015. To date, she has flown 10 parabolic flight campaigns, culminating in over 160 parabolas of experience in micro- and reduced gravity.

"We were thrilled with the results from our fluid cell experiment on 'Galactic 05', which demonstrated our ability to accurately predict the behavior of fluid in a container in a weightless environment," said Gerardi.

Virgin Galactic's VP of Government Affairs and Research, Sirisha Bandla, flew on Virgin Galactic's 'Unity 22' spaceflight, which made her the second Indian-born woman to go to space.

"We're excited to continue our partnership with IIAS in an expanded capacity," said Bandla.


(IANS)

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