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Sirisha Bandla, India-born woman and Virgin Galactic executive, flies into space with Richard Branson

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Sirisha Bandla, who is the vice president of government affairs and research operations for Virgin Galactic (SPCE), roared into the sky over New Mexico in the early hours of Sunday along with Branson and two other employees, Beth Moses and Colin Bennett.
According to the Embassy of the United States in India, It is Bandla the third woman of Indian descent to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, both U.S. citizens.
In 2003, Chawla became the first woman born in India to travel in space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. The seven astronauts on this shuttle died when they tried to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Bandla was born in southern India, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and began working at Virgin Galactic in 2015, it reported. CNN affiliate news 18. The company did not immediately respond to an email from CNN Business.

Her escape has sparked excitement among many famous Indians, including the country’s vice president Venkaiah Naidu, who has tweeted that she will be a role model for girls everywhere.

The billionaire and chairman of the Mahindra group, Anand Mahindra, also congratulated Bandla for this Twitter (TWTR), and said her flight is a sign that Indian women are “breaking glass ceilings” everywhere.
Over the last decade, The incursion of India in space exploration it has been marked with low but ambitious budget missions. India has been accelerating as it tries to compete with other Asian countries and is pursuing major lunar missions.

Branson’s joy

On Sunday, Branson became the first person to travel into space aboard a rocket he helped fund. Before dawn, he and his crew members boarded the SpaceShipTwo, a single-engine winged rocket that his company, Virgin Galactic, has spent nearly two decades developing.

This flight, which arrived only nine days earlier Amazon (AMZN) Billionaire Jeff Bezos plans to launch rockets into suborbital space aboard his own company’s spacecraft. The emerging sector has been looking for years to make suborbital space tourism (a relatively easy up and down flight, rather than orbiting the Earth for longer periods) a viable business with the goal of enabling thousands of people to experience the adrenaline and panoramic views of our home planet that these flights can offer.

Branson and Bezos are set to become direct competitors in this industry, and offer tickets to wealthy customers to make brief trips to the upper atmosphere aboard rocket-propelled supersonic spacecraft.

Virgin Galactic plans to conduct just one more test flight before paying customers start flying. To date, more than 600 people have booked tickets priced between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000. The company is expected to reopen ticket sales soon, albeit at a higher price.

– Jackie Wattles contributed to this report.

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