HomeScience & TechNASA Astronaut Sunita L. Williams Prepares for Historic Crew Flight Test Mission

NASA Astronaut Sunita L. Williams Prepares for Historic Crew Flight Test Mission

Sunita L. Williams, a distinguished NASA astronaut, is gearing up for a significant milestone in her illustrious career: piloting the Crew Flight Test mission aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. This mission marks the first crewed flight for the Starliner and will be Williams’ third journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA has announced two media opportunities on Thursday, April 25, in preparation for the Boeing Crew Flight Test, which is scheduled for launch at 10:34 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 6, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Williams, along with fellow NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore, will lift off aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Upon reaching the ISS, they will dock at the orbiting laboratory and remain onboard for approximately a week, as stated in NASA’s announcement.

This mission represents a significant milestone for the Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. It will serve as a comprehensive test of the spacecraft’s capabilities, including launch, docking procedures, and return to Earth.

Williams’ remarkable spaceflight experience spans two previous missions. Her first mission, Expedition 14/15, took place from December 9, 2006, to June 22, 2007. During this time, she established a record for females with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes. Williams returned to Earth with the STS-117 crew in June 2007.

Her second spaceflight, Expedition 32/33, occurred from July 14 to November 18, 2012. Launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Williams spent four months conducting research and exploration aboard the ISS. Once again, she set a record for total cumulative spacewalk time, accumulating 50 hours and 40 minutes.

Throughout her missions, Williams has been instrumental in conducting research, performing spacewalks, and contributing significantly to the exploration of space.

In addition to her impressive spaceflight achievements, Williams has received numerous awards and honors for her service. As a retired US Navy Captain, she has been twice awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Navy Commendation Medal twice, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

As Williams prepares for her role as pilot of the Crew Flight Test mission aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, her dedication, expertise, and commitment to space exploration continue to inspire and pave the way for future generations of astronauts.

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