Shawna Pandya, a Canadian-born Indian astronaut, has denied that she will part of a NASA mission in 2018 under the Citizen Science Astronaut program. 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. She made the announcement on her own Facebook account.
Pandya posted that reports about her supposed participation in the space mission next year is but an amalgamation of “misstatements.” She also added that no new announcement, selection of mission and flight assignment has been made which clearly states her involvement. She said that she released the statement as a form of respect to her work as a citizen-scientist astronaut with Project Possum, otherwise known as the “PHEnOM Project.” Furthermore, she said that she less likely to fly compared to other members of their projects. NDTV said that Pandya regards herself as a “steadfast, committed and dedicated teammate and crew member for both projects.”
Contrary to reports about her, Pandya also denied that she is a neurosurgeon. However, she said that she once trained in the field. She also confirmed that the Canadian Space Agency astronaut selection is currently conducted and will be finalized before the year ends. She vehemently denied being part of the selection process. NASA will also launch moon exploration mission next year in preparation for research on Mars in 2035.
On the morning of February 10, The Financial Express published a story which claims that Pandya will be the third female astronaut of Indian-origin to fly to space for a mission. The article also claimed that she will follow the footsteps of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Willians, the first two Indian-origin women to fly to space. It also said that Pandya took aerospace medicine which laid the foundation for her interest in aeronautics. Pandya is also an opera singer and a taekwondo champion