Sirisha Bandla, a 34-year-old aeronautical engineer, is set to become the third Indian-origin woman to head to space when she flies as part of Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed flight test on Sunday.
Ms. Bandla, who was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and brought up in Houston, Texas, will join Sir Richard Branson, the company’s billionaire founder, and five others on board Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity to make a journey to the edge of space from New Mexico.
“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 tweeted.
Ms. Bandla will be astronaut no 004 and her flight role will be Researcher Experience, according to her profile on Virgin Galactic.
She will become the third Indian-origin woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
Ms. Bandla started in her role as the Vice President of Government Affairs and Research Operations at Virgin Galactic in January 2021.