NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, currently living and working aboard the International Space Station, broke the record Monday for cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut.
The occasion was celebrated with a phone call from President Donald Trump, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and fellow astronaut Kate Rubins.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who arrived April 20 for his first mission aboard the orbiting outpost, also participated in the call alongside Whitson.
“Peggy is a phenomenal role model for young women, and all Americans, who are exploring or participating in STEM education programs and careers,” said President Trump.
Whitson launched on Nov. 17, 2016, with 377 days in space already under her belt, and broke Jeff Williams’ U.S. record of 534 cumulative days in space.
In 2008, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station, and on April 9 became the first woman to command it twice. In addition, she holds the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut.
In addition to the important research that cannot be conducted on Earth, Fischer and Whitson are scheduled to take part in the fifth spacewalk of the year on May 12 to replace an avionics box on the starboard truss called an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier, a storage platform.
For more than 16 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space.
A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 1,900 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries.
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