|Profession(s)||Aeronautical Engineer, Astronaut|
|Famous For||Being the third Indian-origin woman to fly into space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters– 170 cm
in meters– 1.70 m
in feet & inches– 5’ 7”
|Date of Birth||Year 1987|
|Age (as of 2021)||34 Years|
|Birthplace||Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Hometown||Houston, Texas, US|
|College/University||• Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, US (2006-2011)
• The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., US (2012-2015)
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering
• MBA LinkedIn- Sirisha Bandla
|Food Habit||Non-Vegetarian Sirisha Bandla- Instagram|
|Relationships & More|
|Parents||Father– B Muralidhar (works for the US government)
Mother– Anuradha (works for the US government)
Sister– Pratyusha Bandla (Biological Science Technician in the US)
|Dessert(s)||Vanilla Ice-cream, Homemade Candy|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Sirisha Bandla
- Sirisha Bandla is an American aeronautical engineer and astronaut who became the third Indian-origin woman to fly into space when she flew on Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed suborbital test flight from New Mexico on July 11, 2021, along with British billionaire Richard Branson and four others.
- She grew up in a well-to-do family in Houston, Texas.
- She is strong-willed since childhood.
- Her paternal grandfather, Bandla Ragaiah, was a principal scientist and professor at Acharya NG Ranga Agriculture University, Hyderabad.
- Sirisha’s maternal grandfather, Venkat Narasiah, is a former Chemistry professor. He lives at Tenali in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.
- Sirisha was fond of flying from a very young age. She experienced flying along for the first time when she was just four years old. In an interview, while talking about it, her grandfather said,
At the age of four, she traveled alone to the US where her parents and older sister lived. Though the person who accompanied her was known to us, he was a stranger to her. She was not scared to fly alone. She was excited.”
He further added,
We don’t know how she got interested in aircraft, stars, and skies. It has been in her since childhood. Whatever she has achieved today is on her own accord and her parents gave her full freedom to pursue her dream. She has proved her excellence and rose to the occasion.”
- She began her career in 2007 as a Design, Test, and Analysis Co-operator at ATA Engineering and worked there for around three years.
- In 2011, Sirisha joined L-3 Communications Integrated Systems as a Mechanical Engineer.
- The following year, she became the Associate Director in the space policy department of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), an industrial association of spaceflight companies.
- In July 2015, Bandla joined Virgin Galatic (British-American spaceflight company) as a Government Affairs officer and was later promoted to Business Development and Government Affairs Manager in 2017.
- She has also worked as a Business Development & Government Affairs Manager and Director of Washington Operations at Virgin Orbit.
- In January 2021, Sirisha became the Vice President of Government Affairs o the Virgin Group.
- She is also serving as a member of the board of directors of the American Astronautical Society and Future Space Leaders Foundation (as of 2021).
- She has also been a part of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), one of the oldest and biggest Indo-American organizations in North America.
- In July 2021, she took to Twitter to share her excitement to fly into space.
- After Sirisha’s tweet, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu took to Twitter to congratulate her. While sharing two pictures- a solo picture of Sirisha and one featuring all six members of the crew, he tweeted,
Indian-origin women continue to break the proverbial glass ceiling and prove their mettle. On July 11th, Sirisha Bandla with Telugu roots is set to fly to space aboard VSS Unity with Richard Branson and the team marking the dawn of the new space age, making all Indians proud!”
- Sirisha likes to travel and do adventure sports whenever she is free.
- She is well versed in two languages- English and Telugu.
- Sirisha is currently residing in Washington D.C. (as of 2021).
- She is fond of cats and owns a pet cat.
- In one of his interviews, her grandfather revealed that Bandla used to visit NASA during her family’s stay in Houston. He said,
She was so interested in flying an aircraft that even after she could not make it to NASA due to a condition in her eyesight, she pursued higher education in the same field. For those like her, she has done videos on YouTube — ‘lessons from Bandla Sirisha’ on how to get into the Space industry.”
- She was very brave and active in childhood. While talking about Sirisha’s childhood in an interview, her paternal grandfather said,
When I used to come home late at night, I used to discourage her from stepping out. But she would always tell me not to worry and that she could take care of herself.”
- During an interview, her maternal grandfather also shared a few memories from Sirisha’s childhood. He said,
Even during a power cut when other children of her age would be scared of the pitch darkness around, she was not one of them.”
- After returning from space on July 11, 2021, Ms. Bandla shared her experience with the media. She said,
I am kind of still up there but (I’m) so glad to be here. I was trying to think of a better word than incredible but that is the only word that comes to my mind…Seeing the view of Earth is so life-changing…The whole trip to space and back is just amazing.”