International space station is for professional astronauts

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Mumbai, Oct 6 (UNI) While favouring commercial space tourism, Indo-US astronaut Sunita Williams today said the International Space Station was for the use of the professional astronauts.

''Space tourism as commercial tourism is okay. But ISS is a place for professional astronauts,'' Ms Williams said while delivering the keynote lecture at the Golden Jubilee lecture series at the annual Aviation Festival of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Powai here today.

She said ISS is the research facility currently being assembled in the space, with the help of the space agencies from US, Russia, Japan, Canada and several European countries.

Stating that she was carrying the legacy of the late US astronaut Kalpana Chawla, the lanky astronuat sounded modest in saying that her journey to the space was not extraordinary but a bit different.

''My journey is not extraordinary but a little bit different. I am carrying the legacy of Kalpna Chawla and Rakesh Sharma as well as the legacy of the Indian nation,'' she told the the jam-packed convocation hall of the prestigious Institute.

Recalling her space odyssey, where she spent a record 195 days, Ms Williams said she was confident of coming back home safely.

''We had no doubts in our mind about our safe return to the earth.

We had done lots of test and focusssed inspection to ensure that our spacecraft returns safely,'' she said.

Reminding the young audience that the concept of the frontiers or the borders was only in the minds, she said when a person is in space he does not look for political separations.

''If you think there are borders, they are just in your mind.

When you see the planet from the space, you only see the planet, no country borders,'' she said.

Ms Williams said her life was not exactly as picture-perfect as appears in the media.

''My life has been full of ups and downs. A life of trials and tribulations. It is not as picture perfect as you read in the newspapers,'' the record-holder astronuat said in an emotional tone.

UNI

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