Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets New NASA Record for Most Days in Space
Making history isn't new to NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, but her latest record is undeniably impressive: the most cumulative time in space by an American astronaut.
According to a report from Gizmodo, Whitson broke Jeff Williams' record of approximately 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. She is currently on a mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and by the time she comes back down to Earth, she will have logged in a total of 650 days in space. Whitson has been at the space station since November 19, 2016.
The entire country celebrated the astronaut's achievement with a social media tag of #CongratsPeggy, including President Donald Trump who reached out to her via a video call from the Oval Office, according to a report from CNN.
"This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight," Trump said. "You have broken the record for the most total time spent in space by an American astronaut. That's an incredible record to break. On behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of our world, I'd like to thank you."
"It's an honor for me to be representing all the folks at NASA who make space travel possible and make me setting this record feasible," Whitson said.
This is another notch on Whitson's already extraordinary belt. She's the first ever science officer of NASA as well as the first female to be the commander of the ISS, which she has done twice. Additionally, she was the first female chief of the astronaut office and logs in the most space walks of any female.
Astronaut Leland Melvin described Whitson as "kind, generous, inclusive and did everything with grace" in Gizmodo adding, "It's great to work with someone that's technically competent especially if you are flying in space but Peggy was so much more."
Indeed, she is. #CongratsPeggy!