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Never dreamed of becoming an astronaut: Sunita Williams

Sunita Williams

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Space almost feels like home and she miss it while back on earth but Indian American Sunita Williams said Monday during her childhood, she never dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

“Space is an amazing place to be in… it feels like home now. Four months was like vacation from earth and it went quite fast,” Williams, 47, said during an interaction with students at the National Science Centre here as she began a week-long promotional tour.
Students posed some interesting questions to the US Navy captain and she obliged the group during the more than an hour interaction.
Williams, who holds the record of the longest spacewalk by a woman astronaut, told students she never dreamt of becoming an astronaut and it happened as her career progressed.
“My father is a doctor and biology is in our family. I love animals so I had thought of becoming a veterinarian but I didn’t manage to get into the college of my choice so joined the US Naval Academy. Then I wanted to be diver in Navy but ended up becoming a pilot,” she said in a jam-packed auditorium.
Williams said the idea of becoming an astronaut only came when she met an astronaut during a pilot training course.
“So, for me it was never a direct route. I had a couple of failures in college and failure is good. My suggestion is that everyone should find something that they like to do well and enjoy it,” she said.
Speaking about the most memorable part of her space stay, Williams said: “The first time I did a spacewalk, it was the most memorable thing. As I opened the hatch and stepped out I was pretty scared seeing the earth flying below me I was like as if I will fall but then I realised I am in space and was flying.”
She shared some interesting pre and post launch training activities and her experience during the stay at the International Space Station.
“In space you don’t walk so bone density and muscle density leeches away. There are also other physiological changes that you notice and you have to do rigorous physical activity like weight lifting and squat exercise to maintain bone density,” she said.
Williams said her space stay has changed her perspective about the world.
“The most impressive part of being in space is when you look down at earth. There are no borders and it seems human beings are citizens of a universe with no nationalities. We are lucky to be on a beautiful planet that has air and water to sustain us,” she said.
The astronaut said while in space she missed her dogs, rains, walking on the beach and the woods.
Williams said her parents are the biggest role model for her and she has always got support of her family.
Williams, who loves samosa and took some of them to space, said she is planning to go trekking in Himalayas and wants to travel down south.
During the week she will be interacting with students in Kolkata, Mumbai and Ahmedaabad.
Williams last visited India in October 2007, when she gave a talk at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

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