Shawna Pandya to become third Indian-origin woman in space

Canadian general physician of Indian origin Dr Shawna Pandya on Friday clarified that reports claiming she had been selected to fly to space in 2018 were incorrect.

Pandya said her work was separate from the Canadian Space Agency or NASA, her Facebook posting from Mumbai said. She is also a singer, author, global taekwon-do champion and even trained in Muay Thai with a Navy SEAL.

"There has been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions with respect to my work as a citizen-scientist astronaut with Project Possum or The PHEnOM Project", she wrote. The 32-year-old clarified that she was once an intern in NASA but said that she is not connected with the space agency at present.

After Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams now Indian origin's third woman expected to step into space will be doctor Shawna Pandya. Any articles stating that I am a neurosurgeon are mistaken. She further stated that she does hold a medical license in general practice but never a neurosurgeon, as some have reported. She has also learnt Muay Thai from a Navy SEAL.

The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut program, designed by former NASA astronaut instructors and hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., gives its candidates the skills to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of an worldwide research campaign dedicated to the study of our global climate.

Speaking about why she wants to become an astronaut, Shawna who has a master's in space sciences, had told CBC News, "When I was 10, I became obsessed with astronomy".

Pandya has walked the runway and is fluent in Spanish, Russian and French.

In her spare time, Pandya is a motivational speaker, promoting entrepreneurship and big ideas.

Pandya previously served as co-founder of CiviGuard, Inc., a Silicon Valley start-up based at NASA-Ames and incubated by Singularity University.


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