Indian-origin astronaut denies being NASA pick

Mumbai: Indian-origin citizen-astronaut Shawna Pandya has denied reports she had been shortlisted by NASA for its 2018 space mission under the Citizen Science Astronaut programme.

Pandya said her work was separate from the Canadian Space Agency or NASA, her Facebook posting from Mumbai said.

Media reports claimed that Pandya may soon join the league of Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams who were selected for NASA space missions.

Pandya clarified that although she had previously interned at the NASA-Johnson Space Centre, she currently does not have any affiliation with the space agency.

“I have no current affiliation with either organisation and would like to clarify that any reports or articles claiming as such are mistaken.”

She also said there had been no new announcement, flight assignment or selection of missions at the Project Possum.

“Any articles stating that I am a neurosurgeon are mistaken. I previously trained in neurosurgery for a short period, however my medical licence is in general practice.

“I am not an opera singer; I have sang opera on stage once.

“I look forward to continuing my work as a physician, speaker and citizen-scientist astronaut and aquanaut and, just as importantly, look forward to continuing my work with outreach and education about these projects,” she said.