Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams and her crewmate Butch Wilmore have safely reached the International Space Station (ISS) on the Boeing Starliner. This marks Ms. Williams’ third trip to space, where she became the first woman to pilot and test a new crewed spacecraft on its maiden mission.

To celebrate their arrival at the space station, Ms. Williams performed a little dance and embraced the seven other astronauts on board. The ringing of a bell welcomed them, following an old ISS tradition. Expressing her excitement, Ms. Williams referred to her crewmates as “another family” and thanked them for the warm welcome.

The journey to the ISS included various tests, such as manually flying the Starliner for the first time in space. The crew will spend approximately a week in space, assisting with tests and conducting scientific experiments. Upon their return, they are scheduled to land on land rather than in the sea.

The Boeing Starliner is part of NASA’s commercial crew program, providing an alternative to the SpaceX Crew Module for ferrying astronauts. Ms. Williams, who had a hand in designing the spacecraft, named it “Calypso” after the famous ship of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, an oceanographer and filmmaker she admired since her student days.

Before the lift-off, Ms. Williams admitted to feeling a bit nervous but expressed no hesitation about flying in the new spacecraft. She likened her arrival at the International Space Station to “going back home,” emphasizing her comfort and familiarity with the environment.

Overall, the successful docking of the Boeing Starliner and the warm welcome at the ISS mark a significant milestone in space exploration. The collaboration between NASA and commercial partners like Boeing continues to expand opportunities for astronauts like Sunita Williams to contribute to scientific research and exploration beyond Earth’s atmosphere.