Astronaut Kalpana Chawla would have turned 51 today.
Kalpana still inspires women to dream today - as she did, in the literal meaning of her name.
From this article written by Pameljit Kaur Kalra:
Kalpana dared to dream a dream so different from everyone around. In Kalpana’s own words, “It was very far-fetched to think I’d get to fly on the space shuttle - because I lived in India, in a very small town. And forget about space, I didn’t even know if my folks were going to let me go to the engineering college.” From Karnal to Space, the journey seems formidably long. But she achieved it. Her success, in my opinion does not come from the fact that she went to space. It comes from her struggle against what her context was during that time to make a fantasy come true.
Whenever I think that something is too grand to dream about, I think of the petite woman who harbored dreams of going to space one day. And that is when; I regain my child-like enthusiasm for life, the courage to dream bigger than I can possibly think and the perseverance to make that a reality.