Record-breaking Iowa native Peggy Whitson extends time in space

Whitson inside the International Space Station. Credit NASA
Whitson inside the International Space Station. Credit NASA
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07 April, 2017

"Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like I make the greatest contribution, so I am constantly trying to squeeze every drop out of my time here". She served as commander of the outpost during her second stay in 2008 and will serve as the lab's next commander, after three current crew members - Soyuz MS-02 commander Sergey Ryzhikov, Andrey Borisenko and Expedition 50 commander Shane Kimbrough - land Monday to wrap up a 173-day mission. "Having three more months to squeeze is just what I would wish for". Whitson's first flight to the ISS was aboard a space shuttle in 2002.

Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson has been granted a three-month extension to her already record-breaking career aboard the station. Peggy Whitson will stay with Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin (Roscosmos); she will return on Earth with them on September 3.

This is Whitson's third long-duration stay on the space station.

"I'd describe our prints previous year as trailblazers, since they were all made in orbit for the first time and we were exploring how best to utilize AMF", said Matt Napoli, MIS vice president of In-Space Operations.

"The question of Peggy Whitson's stay at the ISS for another 3.5 months is nearly solved, only some technical matters and formalities remain", Komarov said on the sidelines of the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

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Peggy Whitson is no stranger to setting records. The US astronaut will now remain in orbit until September. Now she is going to become the astronaut to spend more hours - 53 hours, 22 minutes - in space, NASA announced this on Thursday.

"This is great news", Whitson said. She's also spent more time on spacewalks than any other woman, and she's set to go on yet another spacewalk in the coming months.

The arrangement takes advantage of a Soyuz seat left empty by the Roscosmos decision to temporarily reduce their crew complement to two cosmonauts.

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 will break Jeff Williams' standing United States record of 534 cumulative days in space. The station's research, technology development commercial and worldwide partner communities will greatly benefit by extending the stay of NASA's most veteran astronaut.


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