Jean-Pierre Harrison met Kalpana Chawla on 2 September 1982, one day after she arrived in the USA to attend the University of Texas at Arlington. They married in December 1983 and stayed together until the loss of Columbia in February 2003. He studied English and History at North Texas State University, and was at the time working on obtaining professional pilot qualifications. He also wrote articles for aviation publications. After moving to Boulder, Colorado, with Kalpana, he worked as a flight instructor while writing and publishing pilot training materials, and researching the Autogiro and its development into the first successful helicopters. He continued these efforts after moving to California in 1988. Upon moving to Houston, Texas, in 1995, he returned to university to earn a degree in computer science. Once qualified he worked at NASA Johnson Space Center and various energy-related companies in the Houston area. Following the loss of Columbia, he returned to California and now lives with his new wife, infant son, and three dogs in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Silicon Valley. He now writes full-time, primarily on aviation-related subjects.
At Kalpana’s side for over 20 years, Harrison had exclusive insight into her personality, education, and career. He started working on her biography in 1997 and found it very hard to write. Nevertheless, the passage of time, and the lack of an authoritative account of Kalpana’s career prompted its completion, with its premiere release scheduled for February 2011 in India.