Sunita Williams heads for the stars again

Indian American astronaut would take over as station commander at the ISS in 2012.

Updated: Jul 10, 2010, 09:45 AM IST

Washington: Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record of the longest spaceflight (195 days) for female space travellers, will head for the stars once again in June 2012.
Williams, 44, would take over as station commander at the International Space Station that was her home in the sky from Dec 9, 2006 to June 22, 2007.

She will be joined on the Soyuz 31 flight to the space station by flight engineers Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, the space agencies of the three nations announced Friday.

Daughter of Gujarat born neuroanatomist Deepak Pandya and Slovak mother Bonnie Pandya, Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, but considers Needham, Massachusetts where her parents live as her hometown.

After launching aboard Discovery, Williams arranged to donate her pony tail to Locks of Love. Fellow astronaut Joan Higginbotham cut her hair aboard the International Space Station and the Discovery crew brought the ponytail back to earth.

Among the personal items Williams took with her on her last trip were a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a small figurine of Ganesha and some samosas. The question is what would she carry this time around.