NASA :: Second woman of Indian origin in space – Sunita Williams

Sunita Williams on Sunday became the second woman of Indian origin after Kalpana Chawla to venture into space when the U.S. shuttle Discovery, with seven astronauts onboard, rose into the night sky on a 12-day repair mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Formerly a navy test pilot, Ms. Sunita (41), is a flight engineer on the mission and will stay behind at the ISS for a six-month period replacing German astronaut Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency.

Ms. Sunita is expected to take a spacewalk with her colleague Bob Curbeam to help rewire the ISS space lab and also operate the space station’s robotic arm, among other tasks.

She is carrying, among other things, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a statue of Lord Ganesha and a packet of samosas.

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