Sirisha Bandla was fascinated with the sky from the beginning, says astronaut's grandfather

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Dr Ragaiah, grandfather of Indian-American Sirisha Bandla who is set to fly into space on July 11th, from New Mexico. (Photo/ANI)
Dr Ragaiah, grandfather of Indian-American Sirisha Bandla who is set to fly into space on July 11th, from New Mexico. (Photo/ANI)

Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) [India], July 4 (ANI): Sirisha Bandla is brave, strong in decision making, and has been fascinated by the sky from the beginning, said Dr Ragaiah, the grandfather of the aeronautical engineer who will fly into space on July 11, adding that he wished her a successful return to land.

"I'm very happy. From the beginning, she was very fascinated with the sky. Now she's going to space with five other members. She is brave and strong in decision-making," said Dr Ragaiah.

"I, along with my friends and relatives, wish her a successful and happy return to the land after completion of her journey," Dr Ragaiah said while speaking to ANI on Sunday in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district.

Bandla who will fly into space aboard Virgin Galactic mission will be one of the six space travellers aboard VSS Unity of Virgin Galactic, scheduled to take off to space on July 11 from New Mexico alongside the founder of Virgin Galactic 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.

Taking to Twitter, Bandla shared she was "incredibly honoured" to be part of the crew.

"I am so incredibly honoured to be a part of the amazing crew of Unity22, and to be a part of a company whose mission is to make space available to all," she posted.

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also shared two pictures-- one featuring all five members of the crew and a solo photo of Sirisha Bandla on his official twitter handle.

"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!," the Chief Minister tweeted.

UK billionaire and founder of the Virgin Galactic company Richard Branson announced on June 2 that he will make a spaceflight on July 11, earlier than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

"I've always been a dreamer. My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars. On July 11, it's time to turn that dream into a reality aboard the next @VirginGalactic spaceflight," Branson tweeted on late Thursday.

The company confirmed the information and published a video, presenting six crew members of the next spaceflight, including Bandla.

"Join us July 11th for our first fully crewed rocket powered test flight, and the beginning of a new space age. The countdown begins," the company wrote on its Twitter page.

Bezos is also going to make a spaceflight on board the New Shepard spaceship, which is scheduled for July 20. (ANI)

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