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Sunita Williams- astronaut


Sunita Williams takes fifth spacewalk

Washington, Aug 31, 2012: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) for a woman, has completed her fifth spacewalk lasting a near record eight hours and 17 minutes.

Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide set out from the international space station at 5:46 p.m. Thursday (India time) and returned at 2:03 a.m. Friday, the US space agency NASA announced.

The longest spacewalk of 8 hours and 56 minutes was undertaken by US astronauts Susan Helms and James Voss in 2001.

However, Williams and Hoshide failed to replace a power distributor after removing and stowing a failed unit due to difficulties in driving the bolts to secure the replacement switching, officials said.

Williams and Hoshide used a long-duration tie-down tether to secure the replacement distributor to the space station for a future spacewalk.

Earlier, Williams was able to successfully connect one of two power cables in preparation for the future arrival of a Russian laboratory module. But the third objective, replacing a camera on the Canadarm2 robotic arm, was not completed.

Thursday's spacewalk was the fifth for Williams and the first for Hoshide. Hoshide is the third Japanese astronaut in history to conduct a spacewalk. The duo arrived at the station July 16 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Daughter of an Indian American father from Gujarat and a Slovenian mother, Williams holds three records for female space travellers: longest spaceflight (195 days), number of spacewalks (five), and total time spent on spacewalks (29 hours and 17 minutes) during her first space journey in 2006.

She is the second woman of Indian heritage to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla and the second astronaut of Slovenian heritage after Ronald M. Sega........IANS//



Sonia Gandhi congratulate NRI astronaut Sunita Williams,
who set a record for longest time in space


New Delhi., Sep. 30, 2007
Surinder Sharma

NRI Sunita Williams, 42, astronaut arrived in Ahmedabad on Sep 20 to a rousing and emotional welcome by scores of school-children, fans and relatives. The last time she came to Gujarat was in 1998, with an urn believed to contain the ashes of late NRI astronaut Kalpana Chawla. Scores of fans thronged the airport, hoping to catch a glimpse of Williams.

  • She visited her native village and local leaders presented her bouquet of flowers. She also visited the Sabarmati Ashram.
  • On Sep 24, she attended the International Astronautical Congress at Hyderabad. She shared her experiences in space with students of the Gujarat Unviersity in Ahmedabad.
  • Sunita was awarded the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by the World Gujarati Society and with this became the first NRI to receive the honour.
  • On Sep 29, she met Sonia Gandhi, Congress party chief at 10 Janpath, New Delhi and spent more than half an hour there. Sonia Gandh welcomed Williams with a broad smile, congratulated her on her becoming the only woman astronaut to stay in space for 195 days.
  • She is also expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

  • Washington, Jun 23, 2007: On Friday, NRI Sunita Williams, Commander, has spent the longest time in space, joined NASA as a navy experimental test pilot.Williams, 41, said her Indian heritage is a source of pride for her and others. "I am half Indian and I've got a, I'm sure, a group of Indian people who are looking forward to seeing this second person of Indian origin flying up in space," she said in a pre-flight NASA interview.

    Williams left Earth on December 9, 2006 aboard a previous shuttle mission, and before returning aboard the Atlantis Friday set a record of four space walks by a woman, totaling 29 hours, 17 minutes.

    She became the only person, male or female, to run a marathon in space, finishing in four hours and 24 minutes according to the counter on the space station treadmill

  • 5 things Sunita Williams looks forward to on Earth

  • Jun. 11, 2007: Greetings, hugs and handshakes with the 11-member shuttle Atlantis crew, who arrived at the orbiting outpost, Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams wrapped up her six-month long tour of duty as a station crew member by switching places with mission specialist Clayton Anderson.

    Sunita will now start packing her stuff to return home on June 19 after her longest and wonderful sojourn in space.


NRI Sunita Williams sets women’s spacewalk record

Sunita Williams has spent more time spacewalking than any other woman, setting the record on Sunday as she and a crew mate upgraded the International Space Station’s cooling system.
  • She is participating in an experimental fitness programme designed to reduce the loss of bone and muscle mass in space travellers
  • She will lift weights, run and cycle for at least two hours a day, and will go shoeless for most of her stay on the orbiting laboratory.
  • She will use her feet to grasp objects so the muscles don't atrophy while she is floating for the next sixth months, according to Angela DiNapoli.

    "Lots of folks ask about the treadmill because it is hard to imagine how one can run in space without gravity," Sunita reportedly wrote in an email to friends and family. "We are strapped down to the treadmill using a harness and bungees."

  • She said that the treadmill and exercise bike are both fitted with a "vibration isolation system" that keeps vibration from the exercises from affecting various systems on the space station, according to the Boston Globe.

    The space station "can't really take that stomping around," she wrote. Her scheduled for space walks is on February 2, 6, 10, and 19.

She broke the previous women’s spacewalking record of more than 21 hours when she and Michael Lopez-Alegria completed the second of what could be a precedent-setting three spacewalks in nine days.The new record of 22 hours and 27 minutes includes her two most recent walks, as well as a spacewalk in December.

Small amounts of toxic ammonia was leaked from a fluid line during seven hours spacewalk. It did not appear to touch either astronaut when the liquid ammonia freezes into flakes by hitting the vacuum of space

Williams and Lopez-Alegria hooked up the permanent cooling system, covered an obsolete radiator that was retracted by remote control from the ground and stowed a fluid line that was connected to an ammonia reservoir.

NRI Sunita Williams, astronaut selected as a flight engineer for NASA mission

Houston, May 5, 2006
Ram Malhotra

NRI Sunita Williams, astronaut will make her maiden journey to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA's six-month mission. The US space agency's 14th expedition to ISS would begin this fall. Sunita will serve as a flight engineer, NASA announced.

Sunita will join Expedition 14 in progress after traveling to the station on space shuttle mission.

Sunita L. Williams (Commander, USN)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born September 19, 1965 in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts to be her hometown. Married to Michael J. Williams. Although they have no children, Labrador retrievers and a crazy Jack Russell Terrier named Gorby have added their share of excitement to their lives. Recreational interests include running, swimming, biking, triathlons, windsurfing, snowboarding and bow hunting. Her parents, Dr. Deepak and Mrs. Bonnie Pandya, reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Needham High School, Needham, Massachusetts, 1983.
B.S., Physical Science, U.S. Naval Academy, 1987.
M.S., Engineering Management, Florida Institute of Technology, 1995.

ORGANIZATIONS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Society of Flight Test Engineers, American Helicopter Association.

SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded Navy Commendation Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and various other service awards.

EXPERIENCE: Williams received her commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy from the United States Naval Academy in May 1987. After a six-month temporary assignment at the Naval Coastal System Command, she received her designation as a Basic Diving Officer and then reported to Naval Aviation Training Command. She was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989. She then reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 for initial H46, Seaknight, training. Upon completion of this training, she was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 in Norfolk, Virginia, and made overseas deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in support of Desert Shield and Operation Provide Comfort. In September 1992 she was the Officer-in-Charge of an H-46 detachment sent to Miami, Florida for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations onboard USS Sylvania. Williams was selected for United States Naval Test Pilot School and began the course in January 1993. After graduation in December 1993, she was assigned to the Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate as an H-46 Project Officer, and V-22 Chase Pilot in the T-2. While there she was also assigned as the squadron Safety Officer and flew test flights in the SH-60B/F, UH-1, AH-1W, SH-2, VH-3, H-46, CH-53 and the H-57. In December 1995, she went back to the Naval Test Pilot School as an Instructor in the Rotary Wing Department and the school’s Safety Officer. There she flew the UH-60, OH-6 and the OH-58. From there she was assigned to the USS Saipan (LHA-2), Norfolk, Virginia, as the Aircraft Handler and the Assistant Air Boss. Williams was deployed onboard USS Saipan when she was selected for the astronaut program.

She has logged over 2770 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, she reported for training in August 1998. Astronaut Candidate Training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Following a period of training and evaluation, Williams worked in Moscow with the Russian Space Agency on the Russian contribution to the International Space Station and with the first Expedition Crew to the ISS. Following the return of Expedition-1, Williams has worked within the Robotics branch on the ISS Robotic Arm and the follow on Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. As a NEEMO2 crewmember she lived underwater in the Aquarius habitat for 9 days. She is currently assigned to the Expedition-14 crew. She will join Expedition-14 in progress, to serve as a flight engineer, after traveling to the International Space Station with the crew aboard STS-116.



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US astronaut Sunita Williams with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday, Photo: V. Sudershan, (The Hindu)

  • Sunita Williams born on September 19, 1965 in Euclid, Ohio to a father, Dr. Deepak N Pandya from from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India who lectures on neuroscience at Harvard and Boston University medical schools and a mother Ursaline B Pandya of Yugoslavian descent who was working as an X-Ray technician when she met Williams' father.
  • Forty-one-year-old Sunita, also considered a veteran athlete and marathon winner.
  • She flew helicopters in the 1991 Gulf war.
  • She is the 2nd Indian in space and the first one was Kalpana Chawla who died on the same mission because their space shuttle lost control and crashed