"Becoming an astronaut was a little bit of happenstance for me," says Sunita Williams, an Indian-American astronaut who took off on her second space journey today onboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Williams, 46, who wanted to be a veterinary doctor when she was young, said "I mean, I grew up in a family with a, a dad who immigrated from a, India, and my mother who was an X-ray technician in a hospital, they met each other when he was going through residency.
"And there was nothing in my past that had lended itself to anything that had to do with space except for watching 'The Jetsons' and 'Star Trek' and stuff when I was little."
"So I never thought it was possible. I mean, it just wasn't a topic in our, in our household, it was more about, you know, medicine—I loved animals, I wanted to be a vet," she said in a pre-flight interview to NASA.
"Becoming an astronaut was a little bit of happenstance for me."
Talking about the risks involved in the job, Williams said, "..... yeah, there are some risks, but, you know, they're calculated risks. We're trained pretty thoroughly for all of that risk, just as astronauts and professionals."
Williams was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1998. She was assigned to the ISS as a member of Expedition 14 and then joined Expedition 15. She holds the record of the longest spaceflight (195 days) for female space travellers.