Sunita and her co-astronauts are expected to return in November. The three-crew members will join the Expedition 32 crew aboard the International Space Station when their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft docks to the orbiting complex after two days. Six years earlier Sunita went to the space and this is the second time she is going on her space sojourn. NASA selected Williams, whose father hailed from Gujarat, as an astronaut candidate in 1998. She was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and then joined Expedition 15. She holds the record of the longest spaceflight (195 days) among woman space travellers.
Sunita is the second woman of Indian origin to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla. She holds three records as a female space traveler. Her longest spaceflight was for 195 days. She had four time spacewalks, and total time spent by her on spacewalks is 29 hours and 17 minutes. Williams was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) with STS-116, aboard the shuttle Discovery, on December 9, 2006 to join the Expedition 14 crew. As in her earlier voyage this time also she has taken with her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and a small figurine of the Hindu deity Ganesha. She is a devotee of God Ganesha. The space station orbits up to 410 kilometers above the earth and they will travel two days before reaching the permanent space outpost.
Japan’s HTV3 Cargo ship will dock with the space station next week and will be the first of nine crafts making contact with the orbiting satellite over a 17-day span. Wishes and prayers began to pour in for Sunita as she got ready for her second space odyssey.
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