Record-breaking spacewoman returns to Earth

By Sharon Marris, News Reporter
Astronaut Peggy Whitson is back on Earth after more than nine months in orbit -
smashing the NASA record for time spent in space.
Her latest 288 day mission aboard the International Space Station, took her career total of days in space to 665 days - more than any other American and any other woman worldwide.
Record-breaking spacewoman returns to Earth

Touchdown! Astronauts return to Earth
As well as taking poll position in US space endurance, the biochemist also set a series of other records while in orbit, becoming the world's oldest spacewoman, at age 57, and most experienced female spacewalker, with 10 outings.Ms Whitson, who became an astronaut in 1996, was also the first woman to command the space station.
Record-breaking spacewoman returns to Earth

Peggy Whitson after her landing in Kazakhstan. Pic: NASA
She and two crewmates made a parachute touchdown in Kazakhstan shortly before 2.30am UK time on Sunday.It was back in April, Ms Whitson broke the 534-day US record for total time in space.Only seven Russian men have logged more time, including Gennady Padalka, the world record-holder with 878 days in orbit. 638 days in space and the view is still amazing! Soaking up some sunset time in the cupola…— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) August 6, 2017

Having started her mission last November, she had been due to return to Earth three months ago, but extended her stay after an extra place became available.While on the ISS, about 250 miles above Earth, the scientist spent much of her time on experiments, including studies of cancerous lung tissue and bone cells.
Record-breaking spacewoman returns to Earth

Ms Whitson returned from the ISS with Fyodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer. Pic: NASA
She said that, apart from the last week, her time in space flew by but that she missed pizza and her husband, fellow biochemist Clarence Sams.She also looked forward to using a regular flushing toilet again, she added.In an interview on Monday, she had described the work as "one of the most gratifying jobs I've ever had". Living large today: Towers of Awesome Fiesta Tastiness (TAFT)=beans, cheese, salami & salsa--Creativity helps after a few months up here?— Jack Fischer (@Astro2fish) September 2, 2017

She said: "I am working on paying forward some of the advice and mentoring that I received on my journey in hopes that one day those young people will do the same and look back on a life in which they leapt at the opportunities and broke their own records."Ms Whitson returned with fellow NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. That’s all folks! Expedition 52 came to a close today as @AstroKomrade took over. Watch our journey home tomorrow, landing at 9:22 p.m. EDT.— Jack Fischer (@Astro2fish) September 1, 2017

Bidding them farewell, the station's newest commander, Randy Bresnik, noted the outpost was losing 1,474 days of spaceflight experience - more than four years.He said: "We are in your debt for the supreme dedication that you guys have to the human mission of exploration."He also singled out Ms Whitson for praise, hailing her an "American space ninja".
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