Peggy Whitson just broke the U.S. record for cumulative days spent in space — and she isn’t set to return to Earth until September. Whitson is also the first woman to command the ISS, has done the most spacewalks as a female astronaut, is the first female chief of the astronaut office and the first woman to become a NASA science officer. She’s a legend.

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NASA Astronaut Sets New Record for Americans in Space

Peggy Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS), on Monday broke the record for the most time accumulated in orbit by an American, surpassing the record of 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes set last year by Jeffrey Williams.

She was already the world’s most experienced woman astronaut and spacewalker and, at 57, the oldest woman in space. Here’s a look back at her barrier-breaking career.

Five Times Astronaut Peggy Whitson Made History

On April 24, 2017, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson established the new record for the most time spent in space by an American astronaut. She’s spent more than 76 weeks of her life floating in microgravity!  It’s not the first time in her career at NASA that Whitson has established new milestones: here are just a few.

First NASA Science Officer

Peggy Whitson was the named the first NASA Science Officer aboard the space station in 2002. The position was created to work with the United States research community to understand and meet the requirements and objectives of each space station experiment.

First Female to Command the Space Station… Twice

Whitson became the first female to command the space station during Expedition 16 in 2008. Then Whitson became the first female to command the station twice during her current mission on April 9, 2017.

First Female Chief of the Astronaut Office

In 2009, Whitson became the first female and first non-pilot to achieve the most senior position for active astronauts, Chief of the Astronaut Office.

Most Spacewalks for a Female

On March 30, 2017, Peggy Whitson broke the record for most spacewalks and most time spent spacewalking for female astronauts. Suni Williams had previously held the record at 7 spacewalks.

Most Time In Space By A NASA Astronaut

At 1:27 a.m. ET on April 24, Peggy Whitson set the new record for cumulative time spent in space by an American astronaut. Jeff Williams previously set the record in 2016.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson becomes first woman to command ISS twice

  • NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson achieved a new milestone at the International Space Station on Sunday, when she became the first woman to command the ISS twice.
  • Whitson is replacing astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough, who will depart the space station Monday.
  • “Up here we don’t wear shoes, but Shane is leaving me some pretty big socks to fill,” Whitson said during a live broadcast as she assumed her new position. Read more. (4/9/2017 3:40 PM)

Today an astronaut broke the record of for the most cumulative time spent in space by an American! Earlier this morning, astronaut Peggy Whitson broke Jeff Williams’ record with her total being 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. She was also the first woman to become commander of the ISS (International Space Station) and completed the most spacewalks performed by any woman, having done her eighth one last month. She also happens to be our Monday motivation!

[Image via  Peggy Whitson/NASA Johnson via Flickr]


This is a remarkable achievement, and she’s not even close to being done yet:

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

Her current ride will last for at least another five months, due to an extension of Whitson’s mission that’s projected to leave her with more than 650 days in space, NASA says.

Literally and figuratively, it’s been a long journey for Whitson since she started work at NASA in the 1980s. Back then, she was a researcher who supported space missions from the ground. She was named project scientist of the Shuttle-Mir Program in 1992. Four years later, she was selected as an astronaut, and in 2002, she made her first trip to the International Space Station.

Follow her on Twitter here.

It’s a long ways down. This is a view from the vantage point of astronaut Shane Kimbrough during his spacewalk last Friday outside the International Space Station. Shane posted this photo and wrote, “ View of our spectacular planet (and my boots) during the #spacewalk yesterday with @Thom_astro.” During the spacewalk with Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet of ESA, which lasted just over six-and-a-half hours, the two astronauts successfully disconnected cables and electrical connections to prepare for its robotic move Sunday, March 26.

Two astronauts will venture outside the space station again this Thursday, March 30 for the second of three spacewalks. Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson will begin spacewalk preparation live on NASA Television starting at 6:30 a.m. EST, with activities beginning around 8 a.m. Watch live online here.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

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here’s an art

Created by Hillary White. Posted by upperplayground.

here’s your monday motivation

Posted by topherchris.

here’s something to consider

here’s a gif

Posted by BlazePress.

[toph daily archive]


Peggy Whitson becomes America’s most experienced astronaut, receives call from President.

Peggy Whitson, commander of Expedition 51 on the International Space Station, became America’s most experienced space flyer earlier today and received a congratulatory telephone call from President Donald Trump.

Whitson surpassed Jeff Williams’ record of 534 cumulative days in space at 1:27am EDT. Williams himself achieved that record during his recent stay aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 48 crew in August 2016.

During the 20-minute telephone call - which was broadcast on NASA Television - the president congratulated Whitson “on behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of our world.” 

"This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight” the President continued.  

Sitting alongside Trump was his daughter Ivanka and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, herself having recently returned from a stint aboard the orbiting laboratory in 2016 as part of Expeditions 48 and 49. The trio in the White House spoke to Whitson and fellow Expedition 51 crewmate Jack Fisher on some of the station’s science experiments, recent STEM initiatives, and Fisher’s recent arrival to the station.

Whitson’s current tour of duty aboard the station is her third spaceflight and third extended-stay aboard the ISS. She first launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 2002 as part of the Expedition 5 crew. Returning to the station in 2007, Whitson became the first female commander of the orbiting laboratory. 

Her third and current spaceflight began in November 2016 as part of the Expedition 50 crew. With the departure of that crew on April 10, 2017, Whitson officially took over command of the station, thus becoming the first female to command the complex twice. During her three expeditions, Whitson has performed eight Extra Vehicular Activities, also becoming America’s most experienced spacewalker.

Whitson is also on tumblr as @astropeggy!

Watch the video of the President’s call to the International Space Station congratulating Peggy Whitson on her record below.

This Week @ NASA--April 14, 2017

Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope, two of our long-running missions, are providing new details about the ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Hubble’s monitoring of plume activity on Europa and Cassini’s long-term investigation of Enceladus are laying the groundwork for our Europa Clipper mission, slated for launch in the 2020s. Also, Shane Kimbrough returns home after 171 days aboard the Space Station, celebrating the first Space Shuttle mission and more!

Ocean Worlds

Our two long-running missions, Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope,  are providing new details about “ocean worlds,” specifically the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. 

The details – discussed during our April 13 science briefing – included the announcement by the Cassini mission team that a key ingredient for life has been found in the ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. 

Meanwhile, in 2016 Hubble spotted a likely plume erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa at the same location as one in 2014, reenforcing the notion of liquid water erupting from the moon.

These observations are laying the groundwork for our Europa Clipper mission, planned for launch in the 2020s.

Welcome Home, Shane!

Shane Kimbrough and his Russian colleagues returned home safely after spending 173 days in space during his mission to the International Space Station.

Meet the Next Crew to Launch to the Station

Meanwhile, astronaut Peggy Whitson assumed command of the orbital platform and she and her crew await the next occupants of the station, which is slated to launch April 20.

Student Launch Initiative

We’ve announced the preliminary winner of the 2017 Student Launch Initiative that took place near our Marshall Space Fight Center, The final selection will be announced in May. The students showcased advanced aerospace and engineering skills by launching their respective model rockets to an altitude of one mile, deploying an automated parachute and safely landing them for re-use.

Langley’s New Lab

On April 11, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at our Langley Research Center for the new Systems Measurement Laboratory. The 175,000 square-foot facility will be a world class lab for the research and development of new measurement concepts, technologies and systems that will enable the to meet its missions in space explorations, science and aeronautics.

Yuri’s Night

Space fans celebrated Yuri’s Night on April 12 at the Air and Space Museum and around the world. On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagrin became the first person to orbit the Earth.

Celebrating the First Space Shuttle Launch

On April 12, 1981, John Young and Bob Crippin launched aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-1 a two-day mission, the first of the Shuttle Program’s 30-year history.

Watch the full episode:

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@ agent carter fandom, guess where my mind went first??? Is is strange yet satisfying fic time????

But seriously, in case you haven’t heard, today is the day that Peggy Whitson broke the record for most days spent in space by an American! She also holds the record for most space walks done by a woman, the oldest woman in space, and the only woman who has commanded the space station twice.

She’s a wonderful, goofy, sweet lady, and I love her for breaking so many barriers and being who she is.

50th space station expedition returns to Earth in textbook landing.

After more than 173 days in space and 2,768 orbits of the Earth, the crew of Expedition 50 returned to Earth Monday, April 10. NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough along with Cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko undocked the International Space Station at 3:57am EDT to begin their journey home. 

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft performed a deorbit burn at 6:28am, jettisoned the Orbital and Service modules 30 minutes later, and landed at approximately 7:20am. Landing occurred in the Soyuz’s prime landing zone in the steppes of  Kazakhstan.

Unlike other spacecraft that return to Earth, Soyuz is equipped with six small thrusters that fire less than a second before touchdown to ensure a softer landing. These thrusters are covered by the capsule’s heat shield during flight, which is jettisoned shortly after the main parachute is deployed.

The thrusters can be seen in the gif above, which is a compilation of images taken by NASA chief photographer Bill Ingalls (@ingallsimages ) from an airborne recovery helicopter.

Soyuz’s return to Earth not only ended the 50th expedition to the orbiting laboratory since 2000 but also the temporary reduction of the station’s crew to three. Expedition 51 crewmembers Peggy Whitson, Thomas Pesquet, and Oleg  Novitskiy will remain the station’s sole residents until the Soyuz MS-04 crew of Expedition 51/52 arrive on April 20.

However, due to reduced funding from Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, Soyuz MS-04 will only be carrying two crewmembers, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. This lack of funding will reduce the station’s operational compliment to five for an undetermined period of time.

P/C: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Spacewalk complete and new astronaut record set! Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson of NASA successfully reconnected cables and electrical connections on an adapter-3 that will provide the pressurized interface between the station and the second of two international docking adapters to be delivered to the complex to support the dockings of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft in the future. The duo were also tasked with installing four thermal protection shields on the Tranquility module of the International Space Station.

 Having completed her eighth spacewalk, Whitson now holds the record for the most spacewalks and accumulated time spacewalking by a female astronaut. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,243 hours and 42 minutes outside the station during 199 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

 Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of ESA posted this image and wrote, ’ Shane and Peggy on their way to their first #spacewalk tasks.’

 Credit: ESA/NASA


ISS robotic operations, spacewalk, further prepares laboratory for commercial vehicles.

Building on the work completed by spacewalking astronauts March 26, ISS mission controllers robotically relocated Pressurised Mating Adapter 3 to prepare for the arrival of commercial crew spacecraft March 26. 

Using the station’s Canadarm 2, PMA-3 was detached from the Tranquillity module - where it has been located since 2010 - and moved to upper berthing port of the Harmony module. 

A second spacewalk made by Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson April 30 connected the adapter’s umbilical cables to the Harmony module completing PMA-3′s installation. Known as EVA-41 in the US’s EVA manifest, it was the 199th spacewalk conducted for ISS assembly and maintenance.

While the astronauts were installing micrometeroid shields to the now-vacant berthing port on Tranquillity, one of the four shields floated away forcing the spacewalking astronauts to use a now-unneeded thermal shield from the PMA.

During this time Whitson became the most experienced female spacewalker, ultimately logging more than 53 hours and 22 minutes outside a spacecraft when the EVA officially ended.

Diagram showing the location of PMA-3 before and after its relocation March 26.

Since 2015 the International Space Station has been undergoing reconfiguring to allow for the impending arrival of two U.S. commercial crew vehicles. May of 2015 saw the relocation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module from the Unity module to Tranquility, freeing up an additional berthing space for commercial cargo vehicles.

A second International Docking Adapter is set to arrive at the orbiting laboratory in 2018 and will be attached to PMA-3. The first docking adapter, IDA-2, is currently attached to PMA-2 also on the Harmony module. The International Docking Adapter acts as an interface between the older APAS-95 docking system installed on the PMA’s and the newer NASA Docking System that future commercial crew vehicles will be outfitted with.

Reconfiguring the US Orbital Segment is the largest external modifications made to the International Space Station since its assembly was completed in 2011.

Below, the configuration of the station’s Harmony module in 2018, showing both Pressurized Mating Adapters and International Docking Adapters. PMA-3 was relocated to the module March 26. IDA-3 is scheduled to arrive at the complex in 2018.