Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) [India], July 4 (ANI): Indian-origin astronaut Sirisha Bandla has made headlines as the second Indian woman to head to space as part of Virgin Space Ship Unity, and her grandfather, a retired scientist who resides in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district, couldn't be more proud.
Bandla belongs to a Telugu family that settled in the United States when she was four. She was born in Andhra Pradesh's Chirala to Muralidhar and Anuradha Bandla.
Sirisha is brave and strong when making decisions, Dr Ragaiah, Bandla's paternal grandfather told ANI, unable to contain his joy over his second granddaughter's upcoming feat.
"I am overwhelmed with joy and happiness that my second granddaughter is going to space. She has been very brave right from the beginning and is a very strong decision-maker. She completed her schooling in the US. She has always had a fascination for the sky," the 85-year-old ANI.
"I am so happy that she is going to fulfil her desire to go to space. I, along with my friends and relatives, wish her a successful and happy return to the land after completion of her journey," he added.
Sirisha, 34, completed her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 2011 from Purdue University and went on to do her MBA from George Washington University in 2015.
She joined Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic after completing her studies and is currently the Vice President of Government Affairs at the British-American spaceflight company.
Bandla will fly to space on July 11 on the Virgin Galactic mission and will be one of the six space travellers aboard the 'VSS Unity' from New Mexico, alongside the founder Richard Branson.
The Telugu woman who was brought up in Houston will become the second India-born woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla. Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams were the other Indians who went into space prior to Bandla. (ANI)