Astronaut Sunita Williams Impromptu Dance Starline Capsule Docks International Space Station

Astronaut Sunita Williams Impromptu Dance Starline Capsule Docks International Space Station

The Boeing Starliner safely docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday with Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams and her crewmate Butch Wilmore. The 59-year-old astronaut has become the first woman to pilot and test a new crewed spacecraft on its maiden mission.

Sunita Williams is back on the ISS for her third trip. During her previous two visits, she carried an idol of Lord Ganesh and the Bhagavad Gita to space. She celebrated her arrival at the space station with a little dance and was seen hugging the seven other astronauts aboard the ISS. She and her crewmate Wilmore were welcomed by the ringing of a bell, which is an old tradition of the ISS.

Williams, who flew to space for the third time, scripted history as the first members aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft on a 25-hour flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Williams is the pilot for the flight test while Wilmore, 61, is the commander of the mission.

Although the spacecraft is usually autonomous, the crew used the hand controller to point and aim the spacecraft during about two hours of free-flight demonstrations.

Moments before lift-off, Commander Wilmore thanked all those who had worked to make the mission possible.

Alluding to past difficulties, he said: “When the going gets tough – and it often does – the tough get going, and you have.” Starliner’s pilot Suni Williams chimed in: “Go ‘Calypso’! (the name of the capsule). Take us to space and back,” as quoted by news agency PTI 

This mission is a critical venture for manufacturer Boeing, which has been under pressure after a series of safety incidents on its aeroplanes. Starliner, likewise, has encountered numerous technical issues that have delayed its planned crewed debut by almost a decade.

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