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Sunita Williams is an American lady of Indian origin. 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. She holds three records for female space travellers, longest spaceflight (195 days) number of space walks (four) and total time spent on space walks (29 hours and 17 minutes). On Nov 19, 2012, Williams along with two fellow astronauts had safely returned to Earth from the International Space Station. It was a perfect landing on the steppes of central Kazakhstan, after spending four months in orbit.
She was born on 19th September 1965 at Euclid-Ohio in America. Her parents Deepak Pandya and Bonnie Pandya reside in Falmouth Massachusetts. Dr. Deepak Pandya is a famous neuro-anatomist. She passed High School Exam from Needham High School Needham Massachusetts in1983 and B.S. Physical Science from U.S. Naval Academy in 1987. She obtained M. S. Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995. She is very fond of running, swimming, biking, triathlons, windsurfing, snowboarding and bow hunting. She joined society of Experimental as a Test Pilot and Society of flight Test Engineers and American Helicopter Association. She made a grand performance in all of these. She achieved Navy Commendation Medals two times, Navy and Marine Corporation Achievement Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal and various other service awards.
She was selected by American Space Agency NASA in June 1998 and her training was started in August 1998. During the training she developed the skills in technical briefings Physiological training and preparing for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and Wilderness survival techniques. She participated in the mission’s third planned session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction resumes on the International Space Station. Astronaut Robert Cur beam STS- 116 Mission specialist also participated in the 7 hour, 31 minutes space week.
She is married with Michael J. Williams and once took with her to the International Space Station (ISS) a copy of Bhagavad Gita, a small figurine of Ganesha and some samosas. She received a tube of wasabi in a progress space of resupply mission in response to her request for more spicy food in March 2007. Opening the tube which was packaged at one environmental pressure the get like paste was formed out in the lower pressure of the ISS.
She was also a mission specialist on STS 117. Sunita’s shuttle’s name was “Discovery”. It was launched on December 10, 2006 to join the expedition 4 crew. In April the Russian members of the crew rotated, changing to Expedition 15. She spent 6 hours and 40 minutes in her third space walk and 29 hours and 17 minutes till her fourth walk in space eclipsing the record held by Kathryn C. Thornton for most spacewalk time by a woman.
Every Indian should be proud of her because she has set a record that was out of imagination. Actually she is a lady of firm decision, continuous hard work and struggle. She has been follow able to every youth who wants to do some task off beat in the life. So, I call her the ‘Indian Heroine of Space’. She has proved that Indian brain has no alternative and India is a mine of talents.