Peggy Whitson (aged 57) is an American astronaut who has been such since 1996, and has worked for NASA for even longer. It was announced yesterday morning that she has set a new NASA record for the most days in space. On top of this, Peggy Whitson is also the oldest US woman in space, having left on her current mission when she was 56.
Though being cast as an astronaut in ’96, Whitson wouldn’t take her first space flight until about six years later, in 2002.
ABOUT THE RECORD
Whitson has been in space for longer than any other American, exceeding 534 days. Her current mission will leave her up in space for five months, bringing her total days in space to even more than 650 days. She’s also the only woman who has spent this much time in space.
Peggy Whitson’s predecessor in this NASA record was Jeff Williams. The previous NASA record holder for the woman who has spent the longest time in space went to Sunita Williams, who previously held the record at a little over 321 days. The person who has spent the most time in space (and has the world record) is Russian astronaut Gennady Padalka.
NASA celebrated Peggy Whitson’s feat over on twitter, asking people who were excited to tag celebratory messages with #CongratsPeggy.
— NASA (@NASA) April 24, 2017
#CongratsPeggy ! What you've done is amazing! We look up to you! (Literally) 👩🏻🚀✨🌙🚀
— FemSTEM🔬 (@OfficialFemSTEM) April 24, 2017
— Lego NASA Women (@LegoNASAWomen) April 24, 2017