Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan was distraught over the tragic destruction
of the COLUMBIA Space Shuttle earlier this year (01FEB03) after striking up a
friendship with one of the astronauts.
KALPANA CHAWLA had been a massive fan of the long-running rockers, and had
been in contact with Gillan until just before she launched off on the ill-fated
mission, which ended when the NASA aircraft broke up upon re-entry into the
atmosphere, killing all those on board.
Gillan says, "She was a big fan and listened to our song SPACE TRUCKING on
the Shuttle. I still have an e-mail sent from her the day before she died.
"After the disaster, I played one of our new songs, HAUNTED, and her death
gave it a completely new dimension. It really choked me up."