Sirisha Bandla has made headlines as the second Indian-origin woman to head to space as part of Virgin Space Ship Unity on July 11. Andhra Pradesh-born Bandla will be one of the six space travelers aboard ‘VSS Unity’ of Virgin Galactic, scheduled to take off from New Mexico alongside the company’s founder Richard Branson.

The Telugu woman from Andhra’s Guntur district who was brought up in Houston will become the second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla. Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams were the other Indians who went into space prior to Bandla.

Taking to Twitter, the 34-year-old aeronautical engineer shared she was “incredibly honored” to be part of the crew. “I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of the amazing crew of Unity22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all,” she posted.

Sirisha completed her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2011 from Purdue University and went on to do her MBA from George Washington University in 2015. She joined Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic after completing her studies and is currently the Vice President of Government Affairs at the British-American spaceflight company.

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