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Who is Sirisha Bandla, the Indian woman who will fly into space on Virgin Galactic with Richard Branson?

India-born Sirisha Bandla is 34 years old and hails from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh in India.
India-born Sirisha Bandla is 34 years old and hails from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh in India. (Sirisha Bandla/Twitter)

Born in India, Sirisha Bandla, makes country proud, set to jet off into space on Virgin Galactic with Richard Branson.

She has had her dreams shattered, but here is one that is all set to become reality very soon. So, who is Sirisha Bandla, the India born woman who will fly into space on Virgin Galactic along with billionaire Richard Branson? To put things in historic perspective, she is the second India born woman who will have flown into space after Kalpana Chawla. The difference being that she will be flying on a spacecraft belonging to a private company.

Who is Sirisha Bandla?

Sirisha Bandla is 34 years old and hails from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh in India. She moved to the US when she was just 4 years old. Sirisha has a stellar educational record and is a graduate from Purdue University, Indiana - the school of aeronautics and astronautics. She has also completed her Masters degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University. Bandla comes from a well-educated family. Her grandfather retired as Principal Scientist at a government-run agriculture university and her father and uncles are doctors.

Shattered dream

Despite the massive success, one of Bandla's dreams looked to have been shattered early. She wanted to be an astronaut at NASA but due to her poor eyesight, she realised that would never happen.

However, the Telugu-origin woman will get to go into space. Sirisha Bandla will be flying alongside billionaire Richard Branson in his company Virgin Galactic spacecraft. Bandla is the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations there.

This image provided by Virgin Galactic shows, from left: Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci. Branson is aiming to beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos into space by nine days. Branson’s company announced Thursday, July 1, 2021 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. (Virgin Galactic via AP)
This image provided by Virgin Galactic shows, from left: Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, Lead Operations Engineer Colin Bennett, Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses, Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations Sirisha Bandla and pilot Michael Masucci. Branson is aiming to beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos into space by nine days. Branson’s company announced Thursday, July 1, 2021 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. (Virgin Galactic via AP) (AP)

Sirisha Bandla reaction

In her reaction to having a chance to jet off into space, Bandla tweeted: " “I am so incredibly honored 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.”

Virgin Galactic launch date

Richard Branson had on Thursday revealed on Thursday that his company's next rocket-powered test flight will take off with six people on board including himself. It will launch from New Mexico on July 11th.

Jeff Bezos

Another billionaire who will be heading into space is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, along with his brother, on his company's spacecraft. The Blue Origin flight will jet off on July 20.

Elon Musk

Yet another billionaire who has a space company is Elon Musk. It is called SpaceX.

Space Tourism

All three of these billionaires are looking at taking paying customers into space and bringing them safely back to earth.

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