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Shawna Pandya: To become third Indian origin woman to fly in space
Background: Dr. Shawna is an Indo-Canadian neurosurgeon who was born in Canada and has her family roots in Mumbai. She is a graduate in Neuroscience from University of Albert and later went on to pursue M.Sc. in space sciences at International Space University and thereafter MD in Medicine from University of Alberta. Apart from being an astronaut, she is also a competitive Taekwondo athlete and has learnt French, Spanish and Russian language also.
Important Work: Shawna Pandya is one of the two selected candidates shortlisted from 3,200 people in the Citizen Science Astronaut program to fly with 8 other astronauts in 2018. With this, she will become the third woman of Indian origin to fly in space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. Astronauts will be sent up in upper mesosphere to study the clouds and climatic changes. For this, Pandya underwent a week’s training last year in Project PoSSUM’s (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere) far-out Scientist-Astronaut Course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in US to familiarize with the conditions that prevail around noctilucent clouds.