Veteran NASA spacewoman getting 3 extra months in orbit

"Having three more months to squeeze is just what I would wish for", Whitson said.

"I love being up here", Whitson said in a statement. Whitson is now about to be the record holder for cumulative time spent in space by a USA astronaut, and the additional three months will cement her place as the longest.

"I'd describe our prints previous year as trailblazers, since they were all made in orbit for the first time and we were exploring how best to utilize AMF", said Matt Napoli, MIS vice president of In-Space Operations. It was her eight spacewalk for her career. On April 24, 2017 she will officially break Jeff Williams' record of 534 cumulative days in space.

Whitson, who left Earth on November 17, is on her third long-duration stay on the ISS.

Rather than returning to Earth with her Expedition 51 crew mates Oleg Novitsky of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), in June as originally planned, Whitson will remain on the space station and return home with NASA's Jack Fischer and Roscosmos' Fyodor Yurchikhin.

An agreement to extend her stay into Expedition 52 was signed between NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Several firsts were achieved for AMF over the past year: the first STEM print for the Future Engineers program sponsored by NASA; the first print for NASA was an adaptor part for an Oxygen Generating System (OGS) used aboard the ISS during monthly oxygen level testing; the first commercial print was a microgravity wrench for Lowe's; the first print for the U.S. Navy, a hydroclip part used on radio wiring; and the first medical print with the fabrication of a finger splint design for a medical researcher. Whitson will take that seat when she returns to Earth with Yurchikhin and Fischer on September 3. That NASA record - 534 days - is now held by former space station resident Jeffrey Williams. She's no stranger to holding impressive records, though. "By extending the stay of one of NASA's most veteran astronauts, our research, our technology development, our commercial and our worldwide partner communities will all benefit". She's also spent more time on spacewalks than any other woman, and she's set to go on yet another spacewalk in the coming months. She served as NASA's chief astronaut from 2009 to 2012, the only woman to ever hold the job.

Peggy is now on her third ISS mission.

  • Carolyn Briggs