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Sunita Williams: Indian-Origin Astronaut Set for Third Space Mission

Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams, alongside colleague Butch Wilmore, is embarking on her third space mission to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission marks the inaugural crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft, designed to test its systems from launch to landing.

Launch Details

The launch is scheduled for May 7, 8:04 am IST, aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. After docking, the astronauts will spend approximately a week aboard the ISS.

Significance of the Mission

NASA considers this launch a crucial milestone, as the success of the mission is vital for the safety of the astronauts. Following two unmanned orbital flight tests, this will be Starliner’s first crewed trip and third orbital flight test.

Williams’ Background and Achievements

Williams, a former United States Navy officer, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998. She holds the record for the total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut, with a total of 322 days spent in space across her two previous missions.

Previous Missions

During her previous missions, Williams set records for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut and conducted crucial repairs and maintenance aboard the ISS. She is a pioneer in space exploration, contributing significantly to scientific research and advancements.

Personal Background

Born in Euclid, Ohio, to Indian-American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene-American Ursuline Bonnie (Zalokar) Pandya, Williams holds degrees in physical science and engineering management. Her achievements inspire both her home country and the international community.

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