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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Needham High grad reaches for the stars

fred.jpg
A technician helps Sunita Williams with her gear during training.
(NASA photo)

NEEDHAM

Sunita Williams, who graduated from Needham High School in 1983, will be making her first spaceflight tonight, weather permitting. Her mission will be monitored by a special group of fans: her sixth-grade teacher, Angela DiNapoli, and DiNapoli's class at Newman Elementary School.

Williams, who now lives in Houston with her husband, Michael, was selected for the astronaut program in 1998. DiNapoli, a huge space buff, is in Florida for the launch.

It will take the shuttle crew about two and a half days to reach the space station, where Williamsís duties will include rewiring the power supply. DiNapoli says she already has an inch-thick pile of e-mails from the Williams, who has been regularly sending students updates about her training. The astronaut has also agreed to write the students every Friday from space.

Read more about Williams' mission in today's Globe West section.

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