Conversation About Space, Aliens, And Commerical Space Travel With Astronaut Sirisha Bandla

Ever thought you could travel to space just like you travel to different countries? It seems impossible to believe, but commercial space travel is now a possibility. Read this blog to know about Sirisha Bandla, an Indian-born American Astronaut who is working with Virgin Galactic to make space travel possible for everyone.

If you are a space enthusiast or you love reading about aliens and need some book recommendations for the same, then this blog is for you.

Speaking to an astronaut has been my dream. Sirisha Bandla is an Indian-born American aeronautical engineer working with Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, to make commercial space travel possible for everyone.  She is the second India-born woman to go to space and the fourth Indian ever to go past the line of space after Rakesh Sharma, Kalpana Chawla, and Sunita Williams. This blog is about her, and her space journey,


Feeling Of Being In Space

“I was the part of Unity 22 crew for Virgin Galactic that launched last July. I have dreamt of going to space since I was a kid, and I had anticipated what it would be like and watched videos of astronauts. I have seen pictures of earth from space, but it is indescribable when you see it in reality. Pictures don’t do justice to the experience. It just took my breath away. I saw the thin blue line of the atmosphere, which put into perspective how fragile our earth is and how lucky we are to be a part of it.”


What Is Outside The Earth?

“Every window had a different view. I could see the curvature of the earth and the Southwest of the United States as our aircraft took off from there. It is so bright that you cannot see the stars”. 


Sirisha\’s Work In Space

“I went for an experiment. I had taken three plant samples into space that were genetically modified to express the reaction of the plant’s genes in different atmospheres in outer space. They were in the tube with preservatives. I froze one plant sample at one G, the plane we are in now. After the rocket motor boost, I froze the second one. During the weightlessness period, I froze the third one. When we got back, we sent the samples to the lab to study the genes in different external stress, and researchers are going to use that data to create plants in a low gravity environment, so astronauts have fresh foods.”

When Would We All Be Able To Go To Space?

“Right now, we are in the modification period. It would be done by the end of this summer. By the end of the year, we will have finished our flight test. We will start the commercial flights by the first quarter of next year. We have around 800 people already signed in for the travel”.


Planned Life

“I wanted to be an astronaut since I was young. I had decided to get my engineering degree, work in the industry and then work for NASA. Then I will apply to become an astronaut and become an astronaut”.


Kalpana Chawla Is An Inspiration

“There were no Indian women before Kalpana Chawla who could inspire me. I could resonate with her. It took down a mental barrier that turned my dream of going into space into a reality. Even though I could not meet her, she impacted my life. Her legacy will stay forever”.


How Safe Is It To Go To Outer Space?

“If the heat distribution is not maintained and one area heats up too much, it loses its structural integrity. There have been a few incidents, but movies dramatized a lot. We have taken lessons from those incidents and put them into future programs. With the commercial space industry, we are achieving a new level of safety”.


Future Plans Of NASA

“NASA and ISRO are looking at a more robust human spaceflight program. Now, we have an international space station, but we are looking at other stations, as a commercial station on orbits, having a settlement on the moon and footprints on Mars”.



Purpose Of International Space Center

“The international space station is like a laboratory in space. We use it to study different things in a low gravity space, like material science, fluids, and physics. Now, with the commercial space sector, they are even using it for learning about private tourism”. 


How To Get Into NASA or ISRO?

“If you want to be an astronaut for an agency or NASA or ISRO, there are certain physical requirements. You need an advanced degree in the STEM field. The STEM field is basic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. With a commercial space company, the case would not be the same. Anyone who wants to go to space would hopefully have that choice”.


Do Scientists Believe in Alien

“I don’t know exactly. I do believe. It is pretty rare what we have here on earth. Many things had to come together at the right time for us to exist. But I find it hard to believe we are the only ones”.


Aeronautical Engineering

“It is the study of air and space vehicles that includes satellites, airplanes, and rockets. So it is all about structures, propulsion and electrical systems for building and maintaining these vehicles”.


Book Recommendation

“I read more about commercial space. One of my friends, Chris Davenport, has a book called The Space Barons. It is a book about how commercial space came to be. One of my mentors, Lori Garver, the deputy administrator of NASA, released her book, which I am reading currently. It is about the policies that drove us to where we are in space flight. The book’s name is Escaping Gravity. And for people who love reading about aliens, you can read science fiction named The Three-Body Problem”. 


Internet On Space?

“We have it through satellite relays. For us, we won’t have Wi-Fi on board. The international space station has its form of connections for calls and the internet services”.


It was amazing to have Sirisha on the show and know about the incredible work that the team of Virgin Galactic did. We hope to have her on TRS again.

Thank You.


Read Next:

Space, Time Travel, Alien Encounters, and Life with Ankur Warikoo


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