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Sunita Williams on her second space odyssey
Posted On: Jul 16, 2012
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN (PTI):
Indian-American record-setting astronaut Sunita Williams along with her two colleagues Sunday took off for her second space odyssey on a Russian Soyuz rocket, which blasted off successfully from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
46-year-old NASA astronaut Williams, Russian Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide started their two-day voyage at O8.10 am IST for a four-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS).
Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced that the spacecraft had departed successfully from the carrier rocket and reached intermediate orbit.
"The spacecraft separated from the third stage of the carrier rocket in a normal regime and at the designated time," the agency said.
The Soyuz TMA spacecraft is due to dock with the ISS's Zvezda service module at 10.22 am IST on Tuesday.
Born in Euclid in Ohio and raised in Massachusetts, Williams, who had earlier lived and worked aboard the ISS for six months in 2006-07, will further extend the record for the longest stay in space for a woman astronaut.
Ahead of the launch, she told reporters that the test mission laid the ground for a long-standing friendship and collaboration in the space programme.
She also said that she will be excited to watch the London Summer Olympics from the station and put a much more global perspective on the mega sporting event beginning July 27.
Williams, a flight engineer on the station's Expedition 32 crew, will take over as commander of Expedition 33 on reaching the space station.
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