Press Release

Record-Breaking Astronaut Suni Williams Available for Interviews

By SpaceRef Editor
June 26, 2007
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HOUSTON – NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who returned to Earth last week after the longest space voyage ever by a woman, will be available for satellite interviews on NASA Television from 5:30 – 8 a.m. CDT Friday, June 29.

Williams spent 195 days in space, 190 of them as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. Although this was her first spaceflight, Williams also broke the record for most hours outside a spacecraft by a woman after completing four spacewalks with a total time of 29 hours, 17 minutes.

To participate in the interviews, reporters should contact NASA’s Johnson Space Center Newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 12 p.m. CDT Thursday, June 28. As her post-flight activities permit, Williams also will be available for more extended interviews and appearances. B-roll of Williams’ flight will air at 5 a.m. CDT Friday, June 29, prior to the start of interviews.

Williams launched on space shuttle Discovery’s STS-116 mission in December 2006. She then joined the Expedition 14 crew aboard the station and stayed on the complex to become a member of the Expedition 15 crew in April. She came home on space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-117 mission that landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. on Friday, June 22.

During her stay on orbit, Williams worked with experiments across a wide variety of fields, including human life sciences, physical sciences and Earth observation. She also performed education and technology demonstrations. The experiments conducted by Williams will help pave the way for future spaceflights.

“The six months that astronauts spend on the International Space Station is analogous to the six months they would spend in transit to get to Mars,” said Dr. J.D. Polk, chief of NASA’s Medical Operations Branch at Johnson. “Suni’s work on the life sciences experiments, and indeed Suni herself by virtue of her physiologic data, give us keen insight that will be needed for exploration beyond Earth.”

Williams’ time on the station was not all work. In April, she became the first person officially to run a marathon in space, participating in the 2007 Boston Marathon.

“It is so great to see more and more astronauts, both female and male, having the privilege to live for extended periods in space,” said astronaut Shannon Lucid, the previous holder of the female space endurance record. “These flights are providing the needed confidence so that some day in the near future we can depart low Earth orbit and head on out to Mars.”

Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, and grew up in Needham, Mass., near Boston. She is a commander in the U.S. Navy and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1998.

Williams’ biography is available on the Internet at:

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SpaceRef staff editor.