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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Astronaut Brought the Bhagavad Gita on Historic Starliner Flight to the ISS
By ISKCON News   |  Jun 08, 2024

Photo credit: Joel Kowsky.

On Thursday, the new Boeing Starliner made history by successfully docking with the International Space Station (ISS).  One of the two astronauts aboard, Sunita Williams, brought some “essentials” along on the mission, including the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and some homemade samosas.  

Navy Officer Williams was first selected for NASA’s astronaut program in 1998. This flight is her third space mission and the first time a woman has piloted a new orbital spacecraft. Williams, 59, the daughter of an Indian father and Slovenian mother, danced with joy when they safely docked on Thursday. Sunita and fellow astronaut Barry Wilmore, were warmly welcomed by the Space Station Expedition 71 crew.  She is no stranger to the ISS, having already spent over 320 days in space. 

This voyage is not the first time she has brought sacred texts to space. In a 2013 interview she mentions bringing the Gita to the ISS, “I really appreciate my Indian heritage and was glad I could bring part of it with me to space.” In addition to the literature and samosas, Willaims also carried a small murti of the Hindu demigod Ganesh. Readers can follow her on X/Twitter