[sarex] Astronaut Suni Williams Sets the Record Straight, and Long
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Sun Jun 17 05:20:30 PDT 2007
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
Astronaut Suni Williams Sets the Record Straight, and Long
ISS015-E-08337 : Sunita Williams with exercise device Call it a great
leap forward for women in space.
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After six years of people, three of whom have been women, living in
space aboard the International Space Station, the female time-in-space
endurance record set 11 years ago has been broken.
And it was broken in a single flight.
Image to right: Astronaut Sunita L. Williams, Expedition 15 flight
engineer, wearing squat harness pads, poses for a photo while using the
Interim Resistive Exercise Device (IRED) equipment in the Unity node of
the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams set a new record this morning at 12:47
CDT for the longest duration spaceflight by a woman. At that time,
Williams surpassed Shannon Lucid’s mark of 188 days, 4 hours set in 1996.
Williams began her record-setting flight when she launched with the crew
of STS-116 in December 2006. The Massachusetts native remained onboard
the station as a member of the Expedition 14 crew and then joined the
Expedition 15 crew in April. Her spaceflight will come to a close when
she returns to Earth aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis with the STS-117 crew.
Although this is only her first spaceflight, Williams also became the
record-holder for most hours outside a spacecraft by a female by
completing four spacewalks during Expedition 15 with a total time of 29
hours, 17 minutes.
ISS014-E-09992 : Sunita Williams conducts spacewalk “It was very
exciting to watch her spacewalks and to watch her accumulate more
spacewalk time than any other female in the universe,” said Lucid, who
set the previous female space duration record while flying aboard the
Russian Mir Space Station. “These [long-term] flights are providing the
needed confidence so that some day in the near future we can depart
low-Earth orbit and head on out to Mars.”
Image to left: Astronaut Sunita Williams participates in the STS-116
mission's third planned spacewalk. Credit: NASA
During her stay on orbit, Williams has worked with experiments across a
wide variety of fields, including human life sciences, physical sciences
and Earth observation as well as education and technology demonstrations.
Some of these experiments give scientists critical insight into the
effects of weightlessness on our bodies while others show ways to
prevent effects we already know about like muscle and bone loss.
In addition to rigorous exercise, Williams also collected and stored her
blood while in space to add to an ongoing study on nutrition, another
key element of living in space for long stretches of time.
The results of this study may impact nutritional requirements and food
systems developed for future ventures in space. “Her mission has been
critically important to our overall space program,” said NASA Astronaut
Eileen Collins, another female pioneer in spaceflight. Collins became
the first woman to command a spaceflight mission during the STS-93
mission on Space Shuttle Columbia.
“She truly is a space marathoner who shows young women everywhere that
there's a place in the space program for them.” If her stay in space
concludes as scheduled, with her return on Atlantis on June 21, Williams
will have flown a total of 194 days in space.
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