Sunita Williams is the second woman of Indian origin after the late Kalpana Chawla to go into space after being selected by NASA.
Sunita is a United States Naval officer and a NASA astronaut. Her stint with NASA started in 1998. She flew into space on Space Shuttle mission STS-116, aboard the shuttle Discovery, on 10 December 2006. This mission specialist on STS-117 registered many firsts to her name when she landed back on earth on June 22, 2007. This renowned scientist became the first female space traveler to have longest spaceflight of 195 days along with four space walks with total time period of 29 hours and 17 minutes.
Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, and attended Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts, graduating in 1983. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987, and a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1995.
Williams received her commission as an ensign in the US Navy from the US Naval Academy in May 1987. She was designated a Naval Aviator in 1989, and graduated from the Naval Test Pilot School in 1993.
She was Selected by NASA in June 1998. Presently she serves as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center.
Married to Michael J. Williams, her family roots go back to Gujarat from her father's side. In September 2007, on her visit to India, Sunita Williams became the first Non-Resident Indian to be honored with Sardar Valllabhbhai Patel Pratibha Award by World Gujarati Society.