WASHINGTON: Indian-American Sunita Williams, a record-setting astronaut who lived and worked aboard the International Space Station for six months in 2006, is headed to the space once again in July.
46-year-old Williams will be a flight engineer on the stationís Expedition 32 crew and will become commander of Expedition 33 on reaching the space station.
According to NASA, Williams and her colleagues will be aboard the station during an exceptionally busy period that includes two spacewalks, the arrival of Japanese, US commercial and Russian resupply vehicles, and an increasingly faster pace of scientific research.
Williams, whose father hailed from Gujarat, was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA 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 spaceflight (195 days) for female space travelers.
She received a masterís degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.
In the space, Williams and her team of astronauts plan an orbital sporting event to mark the Summer Olympics in London.
ďIím just looking forward to seeing the full capability of the space station, itís an experiment, not only the things that weíre doing inside but also all the engineering that has gone into allowing us to dock new vehicles, do space walks, Russian and US. So, itís a pretty complicated vehicle now and Iím looking forward to being part of it,Ē Williams said.
ďSprintí is an experiment thatís trying to optimize our exercise protocol on board and trying to understand if intense exercise will take the place of long exercise. And ĎICVí is Ďintegrated cardio-vascularí. Itís a pretty complicated experiment, and from the name you can understand itís trying to understand what is happening with your heart on board,Ē she said at a news conference. -PTI