The advent of safe, reliable transportation to the International Space Station is sparking good ideas and stoking lifelong dreams. Kavya Manyapu, a flight-test engineer on Boeing’s CST-100 commercial crew capsule program, has wanted to be an astronaut since she can remember and recently helped design the interior of the capsule she might one day ride in.
Kavya moved from India to the U.S. to get a college education and has been preparing to become an astronaut ever since by scuba diving, getting her private pilot’s license and practicing aerobatics, or aircraft flying maneuvers. She even was selected as one of 400 “highly qualified” applicants out of nearly 7,000 during the last astronaut application process.
“It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, so I’m preparing myself everyday to get there,” Kavya said.
Boeing engineers have built a mock-up of the CST-100 spacecraft to test and re-test the capsule component, ensuring the vehicle is built right the first time. First flight of the capsule will occur in 2016.
The next astronaut application period won’t open for two to three years, but Kavya said she will apply. In the meantime, she’ll continue preparing to fulfill her childhood dream.