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Back from the stars ... into the arms of family

Posted by Ralph Ranalli June 8, 2007 01:33 PM

sunitaw.JPG
After six months in space, astronaut Sunita Williams is heading home.
(NASA photo)

NEEDHAM/OUTER SPACE

When astronaut and Needham High School graduate Sunita Williams arrives home in eleven days, members of her family will travel to Houston to quietly welcome her and help her physically recover, her sister Dina Pandya, tells Globe West.

Since Williamsís muscle and bone mass have likely weakened during her six month mission aboard the International Space Station, said her sister, who will care for her during her first week home from space. Pandya, a web developer for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who lives in Falmouth, said she hopes to get her sister up and walking along the beach as soon as possible.

Williams' mother, Bonnie Pandya, will care for Williams for the next month.

Williams' ride home, the Atlantis space shuttle, is scheduled to take off tonight at 7:38 p.m., as long as weather conditions are clear during the ten-minute launch window. The mission will last eleven days with a seven person crew.

--Lauren K Meade

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