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Sunita Williams meets Sonia

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Flying high: US astronaut Sunita Williams with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday.
Flying high: US astronaut Sunita Williams with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday.

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, who spent a record 195 days in space, arrived here on Saturday and met United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Sunita visited Ms. Gandhi at 10 Janpath. She remained there for about half-an-hour but left without speaking to the media.

The 42-year-old astronaut who will be in the Capital till October 4 was earlier received at the airport by her fans and American Embassy officials.

Coming to Delhi from Hyderabad after attending the concluding session of the 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Sunita is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, prominent dignitaries and school students among others during her stay here.

Sunita Williams — a naval officer in the United States and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut — is the second woman of Indian heritage to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla.

Her records

Her itinerary while in the Capital includes interaction with school children on Monday where she is expected to share with them her experience as a space traveller.

She would also be talking to them about her records that include the longest spaceflight of 195 days, as many as four space walks and a total of 29 hours and 17 minutes spent on the spacewalks.

Sunita, whose father hails from Gujarat, arrived in Ahmedabad on September 20 and later proceeded to Hyderabad to attend the IAC. During her stay in Gujarat, she visited the Sabarmati Ashram. Sunita was awarded the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by the World Gujarati Society and with this became the first non-resident Indian to receive the honour.

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