31 Facts About Sunita Williams


Sunita Lyn Williams was born on September 19,1965 and is an American astronaut and United States Navy officer who formerly held the records for most spacewalks by a woman and most spacewalk time for a woman.


Sunita Williams, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, was born in Euclid, Ohio, to Mumbai Indian American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene American Ursuline Bonnie Pandya, who reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts.


Sunita Williams's paternal family is from Jhulasan in the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, while her maternal great-grandmother Mary Bohinc, born in Slovenia, immigrated to the United States as an 11-year-old with her mother, 1891 Slovene emigrant Ursula Bohinac.


Sunita Williams received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical science from the United States Naval Academy in 1987, and a Master of Science degree in engineering management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.


Sunita Williams was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy in May 1987.


Sunita Williams next reported to the Naval Air Training Command, where she was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989.


Sunita Williams received initial H-46 Sea Knight training in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3, and was then assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 in Norfolk, Virginia, with which she made overseas deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Provide Comfort.

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In January 1993, Sunita Williams began training at the US Naval Test Pilot School.


Sunita Williams was deployed on Saipan in June 1998 when she was selected by NASA for the astronaut program.


Sunita Williams has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 aircraft types.


Sunita Williams began her astronaut candidate training at the Johnson Space Center in August 1998.


Sunita Williams was launched to the International Space Station with STS-116, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, on December 9,2006, to join the Expedition 14 crew.


Sunita Williams performed her first extra-vehicular activity on the eighth day of the STS-116 mission.


Sunita Williams has logged 29 hours and 17 minutes in four spacewalks, eclipsing the record held by Kathryn C Thornton for most spacewalk time by a woman.


Sunita Williams served as a mission specialist and returned to Earth on June 22,2007, at the end of the STS-117 mission.


Sunita Williams was listed as an entrant for the 2007 Boston Marathon, and completed the distance in four hours and 24 minutes.


Williams' sister, Dina Pandya, and fellow astronaut Karen L Nyberg ran the marathon on Earth, and Williams received updates on their progress from Mission Control.


The hatchway between the Soyuz spacecraft and the ISS was opened at 7:23 GMT and Sunita Williams floated into the ISS to begin her duties as a member of the Expedition 32 crew.


Sunita Williams served as the commander of the ISS during her stay onboard ISS Expedition 33, succeeding Gennady Padalka.


Sunita Williams became the commander of the International Space Station on September 17,2012, being only the second woman to achieve the feat.


Sunita Williams used the International Space Station's own treadmill and stationary bike, and for the swimming portion of the race, she used the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device to do weightlifting and resistance exercises that approximate swimming in microgravity.


Sunita Williams returned to Earth with fellow astronauts Yuri Malenchenko and Akihiko Hoshide on November 19,2012, touching down in the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.


Sunita Williams would become the first woman to fly on the maiden crewed flight of an orbital spacecraft.


Sunita Williams had a pet Jack Russell terrier named Gorby who was featured with her on the Dog Whisperer television show on the National Geographic Channel on November 12,2010.


In 2012, Sunita Williams expressed a desire to adopt a girl from Ahmedabad.

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In September 2007, Sunita Williams visited the Sabarmati Ashram and her ancestral village of Jhulasan in Gujarat, India.


Sunita Williams was awarded the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by the World Gujarati Society, the first person of Indian descent who was not an Indian citizen to be presented the award.


On October 4,2007, Sunita Williams spoke at the American Embassy School, and then met Manmohan Singh, the then-Prime Minister of India.


Sunita Williams has taken a samosa and Carniolan sausage to space in celebration of her Indian and Slovenian heritage.


In May 2020, Sunita Williams addressed more than 500,000 Indian and other international students in the United States in a virtual interview organized by the Student Hub at the Embassy of India, Washington, DC, during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.


Sunita Williams is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.