Indian-American Astronaut Sunita Williams Pilots Maiden Crewed Starliner Mission

JNS: Indian-origin NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, alongside Butch Wilmore, has made history by becoming the first woman to pilot a new human-rated spacecraft on its maiden mission. The duo flew aboard Boeing’s Starliner on its first-ever crewed mission.

The 59-year-old Williams and her 61-year-old crewmate were launched yesterday on the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This historic flight follows several years of delays, including a helium leak and an issue with the ground power supply, which postponed the first human flight initially slated for May 7.

Despite the setbacks, the third attempt saw a 90% favorable weather forecast for launch. Wilmore commanded the mission while Williams piloted the flight.

The crew will spend approximately a week at the International Space Station before returning to Earth aboard the reusable crew capsule.

The Starliner mission is designed to carry astronauts and cargo for future NASA missions to low Earth orbit and beyond.

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