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Sunita Williams: Lesser-known facts about Indian-origin American astronaut

On Sunita Williams’ 54th birthday, we bring you some lesser-known facts about the astronaut.

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Sunita Pandya Williams is an Indian-origin American astronaut and United States Navy officer of Indo-Slovenian descent. She was born on September 19, 1965.

Sunita was born in Euclid, Ohio, to Indian American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene American Ursuline Bonnie Pandya, who reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts. She is the youngest of three children.

Williams’ paternal family is from Jhulasan, Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, while her maternal great-grandmother Mary Bohinc, born in Leše, Slovenia, immigrated to America as an eleven-year-old with her mother.

On Sunita Williams’ 54th birthday, we bring you some lesser-known facts about the astronaut.

  • She is one of the most experienced spacewalkers in the world, the astronaut has made 7 total spacewalks
  • She has a Total spacewalk time of 50 hours, 40 minutes.
  • She is No. 9 on the list of most experienced spacewalkers
  • Williams, 52, has spent 50 hours and 40 minutes outside the ISS and part of her new job is to verify that the companies’ spacecraft can launch, manoeuvre in orbit and dock to stationary spacecraft like the ISS, according to the npr.org report.
  • On April 15, 2007, she ran the first marathon by any person in space. Williams was listed as an entrant for the 2007 Boston Marathon, and completed the distance in four hours and 24 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Williams was awarded Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by World Gujarati Society. She became the first person of Indian descent who was not an Indian citizen to be presented the award.

She has various awards to her name:

  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
  • Humanitarian Service Medal
  • NASA Spaceflight Medal
  • Medal “For Merit in Space Exploration”, Government of Russia
  • Padma Bhushan, Government of India
  • Honorary Doctorate, Gujarat Technological University
  • Golden Order for Merits, Government of Slovenia

Chandrima Shaha appointed as first woman president of The Indian National Science Academy in its 85 year history

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