Record-breaking Astronaut Peggy Whitson Retires

Posted: Jun 17 2018, 1:08pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Record-breaking Astronaut Peggy Whitson Retires
In this Dec. 3, 2016 photo, Peggy Whitson is inside International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Peggy Whitson holds the U.S. record for most time spent in space

NASA’s veteran astronaut Peggy Whitson has retired just less than a year after returning from her record-breaking spaceflight.

The 58-year old spacewoman currently holds the record for most cumulative time in space by an American. Whitson logged 665 days in orbit over three flights. Of those, 288 days were accumulated during her last mission.

Besides longest flight, Whitson set several other records during her stays in space station over the years. She was the world’s oldest spacewoman and also has the title for most spacewalks by a female with 10 trips outside the space station. Peggy Whitson was the first female to command International Space Station and held the position twice. She was also the only woman to have served as chief of NASA astronaut corps, a unit that selects and trains astronauts for international space missions. On June 15 2018, Whitson announced her retirement from NASA.

“It’s been the greatest honor to live out my lifelong dream of being a @NASA Astronaut.” Whitson said via Twitter. “Thank you to the #NASAVillage and all who have supported me along the way. As I reminisce on my many treasured memories, it’s safe to say my journey at NASA has been out of this world!”

Peggy Whitson joined NASA as a researcher in 1986 and became an astronaut in 1996. She made her first trip to ISS in 2002 as part of Expedition 5. Her second mission was in 2007 when she served as the first female commander of the space station. Whitson returned from her third and last space mission in September last year. She was supposed to return to Earth in June but got three extra months in orbit due to an extra seat in Soyuz capsule. Her final spaceflight lasted close to 10 months. Only Russian men have spent more time in space. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the record with 879 days over five missions.

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