Sunita Williams turned 55

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Sunita Williams turned 55

Sunita Lyn Williams is an American astronaut and United States Navy officer who formerly held the records for most spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes). Williams was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and Expedition 15. In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33.

Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, to Indian American neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovene American Ursuline Bonnie (Zalokar) Pandya, who reside in Falmouth, Massachusetts. She is the youngest of three children. Her brother Jay Thomas is four years older and her sister Dina Annadj is three years older. Williams’ paternal family is from Jhulasan in the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, while her maternal great-grandmother Mary Bohinc (originally Marija Bohinjec), born in Leše, Slovenia, immigrated to America as an eleven-year-old with her mother, 1891 Slovene emigrant Ursula (Strajhar) Bohinac.

Williams was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy in May 1987. After a six-month temporary assignment at the Naval Coastal System Command, she was designated a Basic Diving Officer. She next reported to the Naval Air Training Command, where she was designated a Naval Aviator in July 1989. She received initial H-46 Sea Knight training in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 (HC-3), and was then assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 (HC-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.

Williams is married to Michael J. Williams, a federal police officer in Oregon. The two have been married for more than 20 years, and both flew helicopters in the early days of their careers. They reside together in suburban Houston, Texas. She 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 is the second American astronaut of Indian heritage to go into space after Kalpana Chawla. Ne India News wishes Sunita Williams a very Happy birthday.

Entertainment Desk, Ne India News

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