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Sunita arrives in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, September 20
Indo-American astronaut Sunita Williams arrived here this morning from London.

Sunita is on a weeklong visit to India and is eagerly looking forward to spend most of her time with her relatives.

Sunita reached the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport at around 1030 hrs and left for her hotel under heavy security cover. Several relatives of Sunita were present at the airport to receive her but no state government representative or minister was present.

Sunita plans to visit her ancestral home at Jhulasan and also the Sabarmati Ashram.

Sunita has broken the world record for the longest stay by a woman in space, carrying out research at the International Space Station from December 2006 to June 2007.

She will be conferred the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratiba Award here tomorrow. — UNI

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Limitations exist in mind, says Sunita

Ahmedabad, September 20
Limitations exist in mind, every aim is achievable - that is the message American astronaut of Indian origin Sunita Williams gave children at the Mahatma Gandhi Sabarmati Ashram here today.

“Limitations are creations of the mind, and if one sincerely tries, every aim is achievable” she said while sending out a strong message to nearly 500 children on the need to protect the planet Earth.

Wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans and sporting her trademark headband, Sunita, who set a record in space-walks by a woman during her 195-day stay at the International Space Station ISS, told the gathering of school students that when she looked down at the Earth from the ISS, she could not see any boundaries that divided countries.

“Like limitations, borders too existed in the minds. So, I think that all of you can achieve once you begin to believe in yourself. Limitations are all in your mind”, said the pilot with the National Association for Space Administration (NASA).

Sunita was given a rousing welcome when she visited the Sabarmati Ashram founded by the Father of Nation some 90 years ago.

Jhulasan (Mehsana): Jhulasan, a tiny village in Kadi taluka of Mehsana district, is all decked up to welcome Astronaut Sunita Williams and accord a historical homecoming to the ‘daughter of Gujarat’ tomorrow. The village has been decorated with arches, flags, festoons and large hoardings, with garlands of flowers, and writings on walls. ‘Long live Sunita, daughter of the village’ are evident at every vantage point.

Principal of C P Gajjar High School, Ambabalal Prajapati says that “Our children have been making all out efforts to accord a warm welcome to her. People have been burning late night oil to make the village a completely renovated place for its daughter, who has brought a shining name to Jhulasan on the World map”.

Right from children, young and old, all are awaiting the homecoming of Sunita. One among them is 78-year-old Anthuba, who is living in Sunita’s ancestral house since past 25 years on a monthly rent of Rs 12. “I have decided to invite her to see the house, where her father and grandfather lived. I wish to talk to the daughter of Deepakbhai. She is confident that Sunita will certainly come to see her house,” she said. — UNI, PTI

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Sunita to address astronautical congress
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 20
Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams will be the star speaker at the 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held here from September 24 to 28.

Sunita, who arrived in Ahmedabad today on a five-day visit to India, will share her experiences in space exploration during an interaction with scientists on September 28 at a special plenary session of the world's largest forum of the global space community.

There is an air of excitement among the scientific community here with the confirmation of her participation at the Congress focusing on the theme "Touching humanity: Space for improving quality of life."

After inauguration of an international space expo, the heads of various space agencies will address a plenary session. A galaxy of space scientists, including NASA administrator Michael Griffin, will participate in the IAC-2007.

This is the second time that India will be hosting the prestigious event. The 39th IAC was held at Bangalore in 1988.

The heads of 24 space agencies, scientists, policy-makers, regulators, global industry professionals from aerospace and allied industries will be among 2,500 delegates attending the event, being hosted by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Astronautical Society of India (ASI).

Coinciding with the IAC-2007, an international space exhibition will also be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) in which 200 global organisations will take part.

The IAC-2007 has special significance because this is the 50th year of the launch of Sputnik signifying the beginning of space age, the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year and also the 40th year of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty.

"We are expecting a large participation in the exhibition from the US, Europe and Asia. It is a good opportunity for Indian companies to leverage this platform by participating," KR Sridhara Murthi, the executive director of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, said.

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