Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks US spaceflight record: Things to know about her
American astronaut and commander of the International Space Station's Expedition 51 crew, Peggy Whitson, officially set the US record on Monday for most cumulative days in space.
"At 1:27 a.m. ET on April 24, @AstroPeggy has officially broken @Astro_Jeff's record of 534 days in space," NASA's page for updates from the International Space Station said in a tweet.
Here are some interesting facts you must know about the Whitson, who surpassed NASA astronaut Jeff Williams' record of 534 days in space:
Peggy A Whitson (Ph.D) is currently part of Expedition 50/51, which is her third long-duration mission to the space station.
Whitson and her crewmates, Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet launched on November 17, 2016.
The Iowa native completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the station for Expedition 5 in 2002, and as the station commander for Expedition 16 in 2008.
She has accumulated 377 days in space between the two missions, the most for any US woman at the time of her return to Earth.
She is also the first woman to command the space station twice, and holds the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut. Whitson has performed six spacewalks, totaling 39 hours and 46 minutes.
"It is one of those rides that you hope never ends. I am so grateful for all those who helped me on each of my missions!," Whitson wrote on her Twitter page.
To congratulate Whitson for her record-breaking stay aboard the space station, US President Donald Trump will make a special Earth-to-space call from the Oval Office at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday, NASA said.
Trump will be joined by daughter Ivanka Trump and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins for the 20-minute call which will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency's website and Facebook page.
Currently, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who has spent 879 days on orbit in total, holds the world record for the number of cumulative days in space.