By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Kalpesh Patel and his family visit the Hindu Temple of Cincinnati to pray once a week. But Saturday, their prayers included an Indian-American astronaut and six others who died earlier in the day.
Kalpana Chawla, 41, the first Indian-American in space, was one of seven astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated over Texas. Chawla, who was born in India and emigrated to the United States in the 1980s, also was on a 1997 space flight.
India takes great pride in any contributions its people can make in science, medicine and engineering, said Patel, who was born in India and has lived in this country since age 2.
But, the Mason man added, it's not just a tragedy because she was on board. "It's more just the fact we lost seven people."
Special prayers will be said for Chawla and the other astronauts at regular services 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at the temple, 4920 Klatte Road, Union Township, Clermont County.
(Complete Columbia coverage at Cincinnati.com)
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