US President Donald Trump has hailed Indian-origin Kalpana Chawla as an American hero for devoting her life to Space Shuttle program and its various missions transporting cargo and crew to and from International Space Station.
He said Chawla is continuously inspiring millions of girls to become astronauts.
Trump's remarks came yesterday as he issued a proclamation declaring May as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month".
Who was Kalpana Chawla?
Chawla was the first woman of Indian-origin in space. She was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Trump recognizes Asian American's contribution
The proclamation noted that during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Trump administration recognizes their tremendous contributions.
"Through their industriousness and love of country, our nation has enjoyed the privileges and enrichment of multiple innovations," Trump said.
There are over 20mn Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who call America home, including those living in Guam, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.
Awards that Kalpana Chawla won posthumously
For Kalpana Chawla's achievements, the Congress posthumously awarded her the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) posthumously awarded her the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Trump said.
America values hard work, honest living
America is a country that values hard work, honest living, and a commitment to ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Trump said.
"For these reasons, America cherishes its connections with the Indo-Pacific region, which shares an appreciation for these principles. Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage help to reinforce these relationships, which are stronger today than ever before," he added.