Astronauts are not born overnight. It takes years of education and experience to qualify for the job. Every trip into space can be a walk between success and disaster. NASA Astronaut, Peggy Whitson created a record by returning home on the Soyuz from an extended 288-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
PEGGY WHITSON – A BIOCHEMIST
Peggy Whitson, 57, a Biochemist completed a mission at the International Space Station that began in November 2016. It covers 122.2 million miles (196.7 million kilometers) and 4,623 orbits of Earth. ISS is a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
Whitson’s crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos landed in Kazakhstan on Sunday in Soyuz MS-04 Spacecraft. Their Soyuz capsule landed shortly after sunrise on Sunday — Saturday night back in the US.
Whitson worked on experiments that involved studying cancerous tissues and bone cells aboard the $100-billion International Space Station. The completion of the mission recorded 665 cumulative days off the planet. She spent 288 days only on this mission which is way more than any other woman across the globe.
638 days in space and the view is still amazing! Soaking up some sunset time in the cupola… pic.twitter.com/AiReQzkjJZ
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) August 6, 2017
I feel great. I love working up here. It’s one of the most gratifying jobs I’ve ever had. I would love to set foot on another planet – lunar or Mars, or somewhere. But I’m afraid I might be getting a tad bit old for that, unfortunately.
PEGGY’S WORLD CLASS RECORDS
Peggy became an astronaut in 1996. Here are some of her achievements,
- Oldest female astronaut in the history of space exploration
- First female International Space Station commander holding a record for a number of spacewalks by a woman
- Eighth on the all-time space endurance list
- First woman and First non-pilot to serve as chief of the NASA Astronaut Corps
In April, Whitson broke the 534-day U.S. record for cumulative time in space. Only seven Russian men have logged more time, including Gennady Padalka, the world record-holder with 878 days in orbit.
With her record, Peggy Whitson created a new benchmark for future astronauts to reach.