NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, takes part in the mission's third session of extravehicular activity outside the International Space Station in this NASA handout photo taken September 5, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
International Space Station commander Sunita Williams completed the first triathlon in space over the weekend by running, biking and “swimming” along with athletes in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, Space.com reported.
Williams, who is the U.S. commander of the Expedition 33 crew, used a treadmill, stationary bike and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) for the swimming portion of the race. According to Space.com, Williams “swam” half a mile (0.8 km), biked 18 miles (29 km) and ran 4 miles (6.4 km) in one hour, 48 minutes and 33 seconds.
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“I’m happy to be done,” Williams said on Sunday. “It wasn’t easy, and I’m sure everybody in California’s very happy to be done too.”
NASA’s flight director said, “It’s critically important to understand human physiology and how to keep you strong on orbit.” According to Space.com, astronauts are mandated to exercise to keep muscles and bones from deteriorating.
Williams, a skilled athlete, began training before launching to the ISS on July 14. She thanked the staff of NASA’s Exercise Lab and neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta after her race. “A big shout out to our astronaut strength and conditioning folks, who were really interested in this and who got this whole workout together,” she added.
During her last posting to the space station in 2007, Williams ran the Boston Marathon, finishing in four hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds.
Williams is currently living and working alongside crewmates Yuri Malenchenko from Russia and Akihiko Hoshide of Japan. Three other crew members Russians Gennady Padalka and Sergei Reyin and American Joe Acaba departed from the station on Sunday and are expected to be replaced in October.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM ‘ASTRONAUT RUNS TRIATHLON IN SPACE’