Astronauts see superstorm Sandy from space station - New York News

Astronauts see superstorm Sandy from space station

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By MARCIA DUNN
AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP) -- The superstorm that has been ravaging the East Coast is enormous, even when seen from space.

Astronaut Sunita Williams, commander of the International Space Station, said Tuesday that she and her crew were able to make out the big swirl at the center of Sandy as it neared land Monday. The cloud cover stretched from the Atlantic almost all the way to Chicago.

Her parents live in Falmouth, Mass., and she's keeping a special watch over what's happening on the Eastern Seaboard.

"It's pretty huge," Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I hope everybody down there is safe and sound."

As for the other big news -- the U.S. presidential election -- Williams and the one other American on board, Kevin Ford, already have cast their votes. The two filed absentee ballots before riding Russian rockets to orbit from Kazakhstan.

"We'll see if we picked the right candidate," Williams said with a laugh.

Ford, a Texas resident and retired Air Force colonel, arrived at the space station just last week. Williams, on board since July, will return to Earth right before Thanksgiving. Ever since her Naval flight school days, she's voted as a Florida resident. She's an active-duty Navy captain.

Williams has lots to squeeze in between now and her departure on Nov. 19.

The six space station residents -- two Americans, three Russians and one Japanese -- expect to get a special Halloween visitor. A Russian supply ship is scheduled to blast off from Kazakhstan Wednesday morning and, in an unusually short transit, arrive at the orbiting lab several hours later.

"Hopefully, they'll be bringing lots of treats," Williams said.

She's challenged her crewmates to scrounge up costumes. Even her stuffed toy dog on board will dress up -- as Dracula. The toy is a smaller version of her real Jack Russell terrier back home, Gorby.

And Thursday, Williams will continue her streak as the world's most experienced spacewalking woman. She and a crewmate will venture out on a spacewalk to find and repair an ammonia coolant leak.

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission--pages/station/main/index.html

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