Millions of United States citizens living abroad will cast absentee ballots in the presidential election in November. But one woman will vote from outer space. Sort of.
In orbit, Indian-American astronaut keeps up with civic duties
If she can do it from space, what's your excuse for not voting?
Sunita Williams, an American astronaut of Indian descent, took off Sunday in a Russian rocket launched from Kazakhstan. Along with Japanese and Russian colleagues, she’ll be working for more than three months on the International Space Station.
Her liftoff made big news in the Indian press.
Sunita Williams waves as she boards a Russian rocket on July 15, 2012. (Reuters/Vyacheslav Oseledko)
The Times of India reports that Williams won’t forget her civic duties during her cosmic adventure. She’s planning to vote in the U.S. presidential election using an absentee ballot. A registered Florida voter, Williams is perpetuating the democratic process through NASA’s “Voting from Space” program, she tells the newspaper.
Floating 240 miles above Earth won’t keep Williams from watching the Olympics, either. An avid athlete during her college years, the 46-year-old astronaut intends to watch the 2012 London games with her foreign co-workers in the space station.
Williams tells The Hindu she sees parallels between the Olympics and the orbiting station. “It’s an international competition to foster friendship, and I think that’s exactly what the International Space Station is,” she says.
Even if she’s not an Olympic athlete, Williams has plenty of world records under her belt. According to NASA, she set the records for longest spaceflight (195 days), number of spacewalks (four) and total time spent on spacewalks for a female astronaut (29 hours 17 minutes).
By the way, on board the International Space Station, Williams is orbiting the earth at 300 miles per minute.
Take that, Usain Bolt.