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Watch: Sunita Williams Dances on Arrival at Space Station

June 7, 2024
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New Delhi: The Boeing Starliner with Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams and her crewmate Butch Wilmore on Thursday safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The 59-year-old astronaut has become the first woman to pilot and test a new crewed spacecraft on its maiden mission.

Ms Williams, who has earlier carried an idol of Lord Ganesh and the Bhagavad Gita to space, is back on the ISS for her third trip.

To celebrate her arrival at the space station, she performed a little dance and hugged the seven other astronauts aboard the ISS.

Ms Williams and Mr Wilmore were welcomed by the ringing of a bell, which is an old ISS tradition.

“That’s the way to get things going,” Sunita Williams said while speaking about her “dance party”.

Calling her crewmembers “another family”, she thanked them for “such a great welcome”.

Ms Williams and Mr Willmore are the first crew to fly Starliner.

They successfully docked the Boeing spacecraft to the ISS about 26 hours after launching from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The two NASA astronauts monitored Starliner as it autonomously conducted a series of maneuvers to steadily bring the spacecraft closer to the orbiting laboratory before docking.

Docking was delayed for about an hour due to technical glitches like minor helium leaks.

On the way to the ISS, the crew completed a series of tests including manually flying Starliner for the first time in space. They will spend about a week in space and will assist with various tests and conduct scientific experiments.

On their return home on the Starliner, they are scheduled to make a landing on land and not in the sea.

NASA has always wanted an alternative to the SpaceX Crew Module to ferry astronauts and the Boeing Starliner is shaping into just that as part of the commercial crew program.

“Like Going Back Home”: Sunita Williams On Flying To Space Station

Sunita Williams, before the lift-off, had admitted to being a bit nervous, but said she had no jitters about flying in a new spacecraft.

“When I reach the International Space Station, it will be like going back home,” she had said.

Ms Williams has helped design the SUV-sized Starliner, which can accommodate seven crew.

She was also given the opportunity to name the spacecraft, and she named it “Calypso” after the famous ship on which the French oceanographer and legendary filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau explored the oceans when she was still a student.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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