Astronaut Peggy Whitson Said Her Latest Record Was 'A Huge Honor' To Break

"It's one of those rides that you hope never ends."

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has broken so many records, we're beginning to lose count.

Last year, at age 56, Whitson became the oldest woman in space when she arrived for her third mission at the International Space Station. She was also the first female Space Station commander, and just last month she performed her eighth space walk — breaking Sunita Williams' record for most spacewalking time by a female astronaut.


Early Monday morning, Whitson, now 57, broke yet another record, having spent more cumulative time off the planet than any other American, with more than 534 days.

The day before she broke the record, Whitson tweeted photos from her career, writing of her time in space, "It is one of those rides that you hope never ends. I am so grateful for all of those who helped me on each of my missions!"

This latest record had been held by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams since last year. According to NPR, Whitson's mission on the Space Station has been extended and will last at least another five months, leaving her with more than 650 days in space. We'll go ahead and borrow a proposed nickname from fellow astronaut Jack Fischer and call her the "Space Ninja."

Astronaut Leland Melvin, who previously worked with Whitson, praised her for her accomplishments and her character, telling Gizmodo, "It's great to work with someone that's technically competent especially if you are flying in space but Peggy was so much more. On my first space shuttle mission, STS-122, she was elevated to Shero status because she was also kind, generous, inclusive, and did everything with grace."

President Donald Trump called Whitson from the White House on Monday morning, flanked by his daughter Ivanka and astronaut Kate Rubins. Whitson answered from the International Space Station, along with Jack Fischer.

"Well, it's actually a huge honor to break a record like this," Whitson said when Trump asked how it felt. "It's an honor for me, basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make space flight possible and who make me setting this record feasible."

Whitson and Trump spoke about the possibility of a human mission to Mars, with Whitson estimating it could happen in the 2030s. She and Fischer later performed forward flips.

We can't wait to see what record she breaks next.

You can watch Whitson's conversation with President Trump in the video below:


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