Mysore: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lauded Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams on her second trip to outer space.
ISRO chief K. Radhakrishnan said the occasion was a proud one for all Indians. "What is there for ISRO to look at? We are all proud that an Indian is going," Radhakrishnan said.
Williams, a record-setting astronaut who lived and worked aboard the International Space Station for six months in 2006, has taken off from Kazakhstan on her second space odyssey today.
Williams, 46, took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:10 a.m. with flight engineers Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA said.
The three crew members will join the Expedition 32 crew aboard the International Space Station when their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft docks to the orbiting complex on Tuesday.
According to NASA, Williams, a flight engineer, and her colleagues will be aboard the station during an exceptionally busy period that includes two space walks, the arrival of Japanese, US commercial and Russian resupply vehicles, and an increasingly faster pace of scientific research.
NASA selected Williams as an astronaut candidate in 1998. She was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and then joined Expedition 15. She holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) for woman space travellers. She received a master`s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.