Peggy Whitson

NASA astronaut

Peggy Annette Whitson (born February 9, 1960) is an American biochemistry researcher, retired NASA astronaut, and former NASA Chief Astronaut. Her first space mission was in 2002, with an extended stay aboard the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 5. Her second mission launched October 10, 2007, as the first female commander of the ISS with Expedition 16. She was on her third long-duration space flight and was the commander of the International Space Station for Expedition 51, before handing over command to Fyodor Yurchikhin on June 1, 2017. The flight of Space Shuttle mission STS-120, commanded by astronaut Pam Melroy, was the first time that two female mission commanders have been in orbit at the same time. After completion of her eighth EVA in March 2017, Whitson now holds the records for the oldest woman spacewalker, and the record for total spacewalks by a woman, which was broken by herself again after a ninth and tenth EVA in May 2017, surpassing Sunita Williams, who has completed 7. Whitson's cumulative EVA time is 60 hours, 21 minutes, which places her in 4th place for total EVA time. She is also the oldest female astronaut ever in space, at age 57.In 2017, Whitson became the first female astronaut to command the International Space Station twice. On April 24, 2017, Whitson broke the record for most total days spent in space by any NASA astronaut, at more than 534 days.In June 2017, Whitson broke the record for the longest single space flight by a woman which had previously been held by Samantha Cristoforetti at 199 days, 16 hours. Whitson spent 289 days in orbit before returning aboard Soyuz MS-04.Whitson returned to earth on September 3, 2017 having accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career; the equivalent of a hypothetical round trip to Mars, making her NASA's most experienced astronaut to date. This total was more time in space than any other woman worldwide and any other American. Her Soyuz capsule landed in Kazakhstan shortly after sunrise Sunday—Saturday night back in the U.S.On June 15, 2018, Whitson announced her retirement from the agency, effective on the same day.
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