“Enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll naturally do well at it, and if [the opportunity to be an astronaut] comes up, it’s just a bonus.“
Sunita Williams is an American astronaut who ranks sixth on the all-time U.S. endurance list and second all-time for a female astronaut. She has spent a total of 322 days in space during two shuttle missions.
Full Name : Sunita Lyn “Suni” Williams, née Sunita Pandya
Born : 19th September, 1965 in Euclid, Ohio, U.S.
Father : Deepak Pandya
Mother : Bonnie Pandya
Spouse : Michael J. Williams
Education : Master of Science in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology (1995)
Join NASA as astronaut : August 1998
Launched into space for the first time : 9th December,2006
Total time in space : 321 days 17 hours 15 minutes
Missions : STS-116, Expedition 14/15, STS-117, Expedition 32/33
First marathon in space : 16th April,2007
- Navy Commendation Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
- Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal
- NASA Spaceflight Medal
- Medal “For Merit in Space Exploration”- Government of Russia
- Padma Bhushan – Government of India, Golden Order for Merits
- Government of Slovenia and many more
Interesting Facts about Sunita Williams :
Youngest Among the Siblings
– Sunita was born to Deepak Pandya and Bonnie Pandya, Her father was a Neuroanatomist. Deepak and Bonnie had three children together, and Sunita is the youngest among them.
Immigrated To America when she was only 11
– Paternal ancestry of William is from Mehsana a small district in Gujrat. However, his maternal ancestor is from Lese, Slovenia. At the age of 11, Sunita along with her mother Bonnie immigrated to America.
Graduate From Needham High School
– After she immigrated to America she had all her schooling there. She did her graduation from Needham high school in the year 1983. After she became graduated she got her bachelor degree in the field of science from the naval academy of USA.
– It was STS-116 with which William was launched to the space station. Sunita along with some Russian crew members went abroad for the discovery of the space shuttle. It was reported that William took a copy of Bhagavad Gita, a figure of Lord Ganesha and some samosas along with her in the ISS.
Donated the Ponytail
– After she was successful in launching the shuttle discovery, she decided to donate the ponytail of her to the Locks of Love. It was her fellow astronaut who took the initiative to cut her hair abroad the ISS and later it was brought back to the earth.
Record Spacewalk Time by a Woman
– In her third walk in space, she was outside of the station for about 6 hours and 40 minutes so that she can complete three-spacewalk in nine days. It was reported that she had logged about 29 hours and 17 minutes in her four spacewalks, considered to be the most spacewalk time by a woman astronaut. As of March 2016, Williams has made a record of seven spacewalks spend totaling 50 hours and 40 minutes.
Came Back to Visit India
– It was 2007 when William came back to visit India. She went to a couple of places on her visit, and it was Sabarmati ashram where she went first. Later she also went to her ancestral village that is Jhulasan in Gujrat.