Female astronaut sets NASA record for most days in space

President Trump, during a video call with NASA astronauts Monday, joked that he wouldn't want to re-use human urine as drinking water, a practice common in U.S. spaceflight.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson has another record under her space belt.

"That's an incredible record to break and on behalf of our nation, I'd like to congratulate you", he said, describing Monday "as a very special day in the glorious history of American space flight".

"Well, it's actually a huge honor to break a record like this", Whitson said.

Early Monday morning, Whitson officially broke the NASA record of 534 days in orbit that was set a year ago by Jeff Williams. In 2008, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station, and on April 9 became the first woman to command it twice.

She flew to space for the first time in 2002 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, staying for a six-month stint at the International Space Station, which orbits some 250 miles (400 kilometres) above the Earth. The seasoned astronaut got a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump for her achievement. The President replied that he wanted the endeavor to be done during his first, or "at worst", his second period, so it should speed up a little.

"Well, that's good. I'm glad to hear it", replied Trump.

Flanked by his daughter Ivanka (right) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, President Donald Trump speaks with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday from the Oval Office in Washington, D.C.

"Trump signed a bill in late March to authorise funding for NASA, and to create a plan for putting people on Mars by the 2030s".

The president asked about the experiments being conducted on the station, which Fischer called "by far the best example of worldwide cooperation, and what we can do when we work together, in the history of humanity".

"I've been dealing with politicians so much", Trump said.

"But I don't really think it became a goal until I graduated from high school, when the first female astronauts were selected", she added.

  • Leroy Wright