June 18, 2024

Indian-Origin Astronaut Sunita Williams Celebrates Third Arrival at Space Station with Dance

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Indian-Origin Astronaut Sunita Williams Celebrates Third Arrival at Space Station with Dance

Summary:Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams celebrated her third arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) with a dance after docking safely aboard the Boeing Starliner, marking the first time a woman has piloted this new spacecraft on its maiden mission. Along with crewmate Butch Wilmore, Williams will spend about a week conducting tests and scientific experiments. This mission, part of NASA’s commercial crew program, aims to provide an alternative to the SpaceX Crew Module. Williams, who helped design the Starliner and named it “Calypso,” described her return to the ISS as “like going back home.”

New Delhi – Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams has made a triumphant return to the International Space Station (ISS) for her third mission. Williams, along with her crewmate Butch Wilmore, arrived aboard the Boeing Starliner, marking the first time a woman has piloted and tested a new crewed spacecraft on its maiden mission.

Their spacecraft safely docked with the ISS after a 26-hour journey from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The arrival was celebrated with a dance by Williams, followed by warm hugs from the seven astronauts already aboard the station. This joyous moment was punctuated by the traditional ringing of a bell to welcome new arrivals.

“That’s the way to get things going,” Williams remarked about her impromptu “dance party.” She expressed her gratitude to her crewmembers, whom she referred to as “another family,” for their heartfelt welcome.

The mission marks a significant milestone as Williams and Wilmore are the first crew to fly the Starliner. Their journey involved several critical tests, including manually flying the spacecraft in space for the first time. Despite a minor delay due to technical glitches, the docking was successful, and the crew will now spend about a week on the ISS conducting scientific experiments and assisting with various tests.

This mission is part of NASA’s commercial crew program, aiming to provide an alternative to the SpaceX Crew Module. The Starliner is designed to carry seven crew members and features contributions from Williams, who helped design the SUV-sized spacecraft. She named it “Calypso,” after the famous ship used by French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Williams, known for carrying an idol of Lord Ganesh and the Bhagavad Gita on her previous space journeys, had admitted to feeling a bit nervous before lift-off but described her return to the ISS as “like going back home.”

The Starliner crew’s successful docking and planned return to land rather than sea underscore NASA’s commitment to diversifying its astronaut transport options, ensuring continued advancements in space exploration.

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