NEW DELHI: NASA astronaut Sunita Williams today said that after she embarked on a journey to the space, her ability “to run around the country doing just what you want to do” has been restricted even as it gave her the opportunity to interact with students more.
“It limits your ability to run around the country doing just what you want to do because it limits the opportunity.
But it has opened a lot of doors and I could interact with lots of kids,” she said at the Kalpana Chawla Annual Space Dialogue organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Ms Williams is a part of the NASA delegation which has been holding talks with ISRO for space collaboration.
Ms Williams said the prime responsibility of living up to astronaut Kalpana Chawla’s dream of letting young children explore the mysteries of the universe lies in the hands of space agencies.
“They (the children) expect you to live up to Kalpana’s dream. They expect you to not only have a dialogue. We are in the midst of commercial crew programme with NASA where we are partnering with commercial companies to actually take on a huge responsibility to take people to the low earth orbit.
“…That will pave the way for us to continue and build a right spacecraft which will not only bring people from our partnering agencies but (also) open it up for other parts of the world, other partners of the world,” Ms Williams said.
“And I have a feeling that the responsibility I was talking about are those kids who are here in this country. They will be a part of it and that will be the responsibility of the group here and people here to let that happen to live in Kalpana’s dream,” she added.
BL Chawla, father of Kalpana Chawla, who died in an tragic accident in a spacecraft in 2002, recalled the fond memories of the deceased NASA astronaut.
Kalpana’s father said she had always believed that she belonged to the universe and not any particular country. Sharing an anecdote, Mr Chawla said, “She (Kalpana) was once late from work and I asked her what took her so long. After coaxing, Kalpana revealed that she had gone to fix her broken shoes. I asked her why did she do so as she could have bought a new pair. To this, she replied that by doing so she had saved an animal’s life and given employment to a person”.