Sunita Lyn WILLIAMS
U.S. Naval Commander
NASA Astronaut, USA
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH:
Sunita Pandya (married to Williams) was born on September 19, 1965 in Euclid, Ohio, but consideres Needham, Massachusetts, to be her hometown.
Her father D-r Deepak Pandya, neurobiology professor, was born in India but in 1958 he moved to the United States; her mother Mrs. Bonnie Pandya is Slovene.
In 1983 she finished High School in Needham and in 1987 she graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor's Degree in physics.
In 1995 she received M.S. in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology.
FAMILY STATUS: Married. No children.
She is a member of the following organizations: Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Society of Flight Test Engineers, American Helicopter Association.
HONORS: Awarded Navy Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and various other service awards.
HOBBY: running, swimming, cycling, triple event, wind-surfing, snowboard and bow-fire.
In May 1987 she received her commission in the United States Navy. For six months she served at the Naval Coastal System Command and received her designation as a Basic Diving Officer. Then she reported to Naval Aviation Training Command.
In July 1989 she became a Naval Aviator and then reported to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 for initial Í-46, Seaknight, training. Upon completion of this training, she was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 in Norfolk, Virginia. She made overseas deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
In September 1992 she was the Officer-in-Charge of an Í-46 detachment sent to Miami, Florida for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations onboard USS Sylvania.
From January to December 1993 she studied at the United States Naval Test Pilot School. Then she was assigned to the Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Directorate as an Í-46 Project Officer, and V-22 Chase Pilot. Besides, in the squadron she was a Safety Officer and flew test flights in the SH-60B/F, UN-1, AH-1W, SH-2, VH-3, H-46, CH-53 and H-57.
In December 1995 she went back to the Naval Test Pilot School as an Instructor in the Rotary Wing Department. There she flew the UH-60, ÎÍ-6 and ÎÍ-58. Then she was assigned to the USS Saipan, Norfolk, Virginia. She has logged over 2770 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.
In June 1998 she was selected by NASA for the astronaut corps, in 1998-2000 she passed a course of general space training and got qualification of a mission specialist. Williams worked within the Robotics branch of NASA astronaut Department. From May 13-20, 2002 she took part as a member of 4-person crew in NEEMO-2 in the underwater Aquarius habitat.
In late 2002 she was planned to be assigned to the backup crew for Increment ISS-10 as a researcher. However, because of the Columbia Shuttle accident the ISS flight program was corrected and the crews were reformed. In December 2003 she was assigned to the ISS-12 prime crew and in December 2005 she was transferred to the ISS-14 prime crew. On May 2, 2006 she was assigned to the STS-116 crew for flight to the Station.
She is currently performing a spaceflight onboard the ISS as the second flight engineer of the ISS-14 crew and in April 2007 after rotation she will continue her work within the ISS-15 crew onboard the Station. It is proposed that Williams will end her six-month flight with landing in the Endevour Shuttle (STS-118) in early July 2007.
Based on data of Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, NASA, USA
and the Cosmonautics News journal.