Northrop Grumman names spacecraft in honour of Kalpana Chawla

Northrop Grumman has named its next space station resupply ship ‘S.S. Kalpana Chawla’ after Dr Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut of Indian descent.

“Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Kalpana Chawla. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Chawla was selected in honor of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” Northrop Grumman said in a statement.

In a tweet, the company said, “Today we honor Kalpana Chawla, who made history at NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Her contributions to human spaceflight have had a lasting impact. Meet our next Cygnus vehicle, the S.S. Kalpana Chawla.”

The Cygnus spacecraft will deliver approximately 3,629 kg (8,000lb.) of cargo to the space station. The S.S. Kalpana Chawla will be launched into orbit from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Wallops Island, Virginia.

Northrop Grumman will load critical cargo into S.S. Kalpana Chawla (Cygnus spacecraft), 24 hours before the scheduled launch.

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp has said it was awarded a $13.3 billion contract by the U.S. Air Force to modernize the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The contract comes as the U.S. military embarks on a costly modernization of its aging atomic weapons.

Northrop Grumman announced it will not move forward with the development of the OmegA rocket. The vehicle was designed for the sole purpose of competing for a National Security Space Launch contract award but didn’t make the cut.

“We have chosen not to continue development of the OmegA launch system at this time,” Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Jennifer Bowman said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”