Record Setting: US Astronaut Returns Home from Space
Peggy Whitson, a NASA astronaut with two other crewmates made a landing in Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft on 3rd September. They made a parachute touchdown in Kazakhstan. The other two crew members who returned to Earth were Jack Fischer, a NASA scientist and a Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. They had joined her in the space stations since June.
Whitson spent 288 days in the international space station during the mission. The international space station is a space research laboratory in the space 250 miles above the Earth. It is worth $100 billion.
With this, she has moved to the top as the American who has spent the most total time spent in space. She has had three missions in the space and spent total 665 days in the space. She is eighth on the world list of space endurance list; all the seven on top who have logged more time are Russian men that includes Gennady Padalka who holds the world record of 878 days in orbit. She completed the mission covering 4,623 orbits and 122.2 million miles.
Whitson is 57. She is a biochemist and this is her third mission in the space. She made complete four spacewalks during this mission. She already had made six spacewalks in her previous missions and it is a record for maximum time spent in spacewalk by a woman.
During her recent mission, Whitson conducted many experiments which included studies on human stem cells and cancerous lung tissues and blood samples. She also grew Chinese cabbage over there.
Whitson and two Russian crewmembers went on the mission in November last November; the two who accompanied her returned three months ago. She had extended her stay to fill the vacancy as Russian staff in the station was scaled down to two in place of three.
Whitson grew up on a farm in Iowa. She was inspired by the US Apollo mission and the first women astronauts. She became an astronaut in 1996 and is credited as the first woman to command the space station. She is also the first non-pilot and first woman to serve as chief of the NASA Astronaut Corps.