Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Ends Record-Breaking Space Mission with Smooth Landing

The crew's Russian Soyuz capsule touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT Saturday.

An astronaut who's spent more time in space than any other American is about to leave the International Space Station, to return home.

Moreover, she is the only American astronaut who will have accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career, achieving the eighth rank on the alltime space endurance list.

Her crewmates include Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Her record is just shy of only one other USA astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 consecutive days in space.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson returned to Earth late Saturday, wrapping up a record-breaking flight that catapulted her to first place for USA space endurance.

Yurchikhin will return to Earth with a total of 673 days in space on his five flights, putting him in seventh place on the all-time endurance list. They have been at the Space Station for over nine months.

Because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey, NASA could not get its plane from Houston to Kazakhstan in time for the crew's landing.

The space station's crew normally is evenly split between the Russians and the US segment, with three cosmonauts and three astronauts representing NASA, ESA, Japan and Canada.

"When you think about the days of training that it takes for every single day here in orbit, that four years and two months comes across as many, many lifetimes of normal astronauts and cosmonauts".

"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", she said.

"Our home is fine, but so many friends and co-workers have been impacted [by the storm]", Whitson said in an interview with NASA.

The Expedition 52 crew poses for a portrait at the International Space Station.

Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch on September 12 from Kazakhstan.

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