Thursday, February 08, 2007

Meet Indian-American Astronaut Sunita Williams

Astranout and Space walker Sanita Williams.
Source: NASA

I've been very busy with work lately, which is taking me away from blogging. I can't get myself to sit in front of a computer after a long day of looking at code and scripts.

After the weekend, I was about to write about the achievements of Sunita Williams. Then, came the unexpected news of Lisa Nowak and her diaper story that dominated our TV screens. When I first read the story, I thought to myself, "Oh dear, this can't be RIGHT." Then, I thought to myself again, "Wait, that makes NASA astronauts as human as us. Cool. Now I don't feel bad about not becoming an astronaut."

This was definitely the last thing NASA needed. Like any family, NASA has its share of people who don't get along for some reason or another. Like many families, the NASA family keeps up appearances very well. Unfortunately, this weird incident may make it harder for the brightest among us to get into the space program.

As a woman, the Lisa Nowak diaper story overshadowed a wonderful achievement by another astranout during the weekend:

CAPE CANAVERAL — U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams has now spent more time spacewalking than any other woman, setting the record on Sunday as she and a crew mate upgraded the international space station's cooling system.

Williams, who grew up in Needham and is a Needham High School graduate, broke the previous women's spacewalking record of more than 21 hours when she and Michael Lopez-Alegria completed the second of what could be a precedent-setting three spacewalks in nine days. The record of 22 hours and 27 minutes includes her two most recent walks, as well as a spacewalk in December.


Has anyone noticed this achievement? Probably very few because we're more interested in Lisa Nowak's news. That's why I thought I'd bring some attention to Sunita Williams to remind people about the better side of women at NASA. It's also a reminder to Senator Biden that Indian Americans made it beyond the Delaware Dunkin Donuts shops and 7-11 gas stations.

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