NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams Displays Indian National Flag In ISS
By Srinivas Laxman | Top News
August 15, 2012
Twelve days after the government gave its approval for an Indian mission to Mars, India for the first time celebrated its 65th independence day from space.
AsianScientist (Aug. 15, 2012) – Twelve days after the government gave its approval for an Indian mission to Mars, India for the first time celebrated its 65th Independence Day from space.
Displaying the Indian tricolor at an altitude of nearly 370 km in the International Space Station (ISS) while zooming around the earth 16 times a day at a hypersonic speed of 7.71 km per second, Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams praised the achievements of India and Mahatma Gandhi, and said that she was familiar with the customs and traditions of this country as her father was from Gujarat.
“I am proud to be a part of the celebrations,” she said in her nearly five-minute message. She recalled that that India achieved her independence after thousands years of struggle.
“I wish India a very happy independence day,” she stated while emphasizing that it was a very “productive, wonderful and colorful country, apart from the flag being colorful.”
“We have a great view of the earth, but unfortunately we are missing India,” she told her audience.
During her first spaceflight between 2006 and 2007, she took a copy of the Bhagvad Gita, a figure of Lord Ganesha, and samosas to snack on. She holds the record for the longest space flight (195 days) among female space travelers.
Williams visited India in September 2007. During her visit, she interacted with school children, addressed the International Astronautical Society meeting in Hyderabad, and met with students and staff of the Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai (IIT Mumbai).
On July 14, 2012, she flew back to the ISS in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
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