The world’s many gifted spacewoman is returning to Earth

Astronaut Peggy Whitson is shutting out a space strain unmatched by any other American.


The world’s many gifted spacewoman is due behind on Earth this weekend after 9 ½ months during a International Space Station. Counting all her flights, she will have logged 665 days in space — a homogeneous of some-more than 1 ½ years.

First stop Saturday night is Kazakhstan as common for a Russian Soyuz plug touchdown, afterwards a brief road to Germany before streamer home to storm-crippled Houston.

During her third and latest mission, that began final November, a 57-year-old biochemist became a oldest lady in space. She achieved her 10th spacewalk, some-more than any other woman. And she became a initial lady to authority a space hire twice.

On a eve of her landing, Whitson pronounced she’s longing pizza — and flush toilets. “Trust me, we don’t wish to know a details,” she pronounced around email in response to questions from a Associated Press. A grave news discussion was canceled progressing in a week given of a storm, so email responses were a next-best thing.

She pronounced her home in Houston is fine, though many friends and co-workers were not as fortunate. Johnson Space Center in Houston stays sealed until Tuesday solely for essential personnel, such as those staffing Mission Control for a space station. She pronounced a group was sleeping on cots during a space core during one point.

“Any trepidations we competence have about returning in a issue of a whirly are wholly eclipsed by a all those folks gripping a goal going,” she said.

Most of a moody went by quickly, she said, nonetheless a final week has seemed to drag by.

NASA took advantage of it to keep her in circuit 3 additional months. Only one other American — yearlong spaceman Scott Kelly — has spent some-more time off a world in a singular shot.

Russians still reason explain to a world’s space continuation and spacewalking records. Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who is returning with Whitson and newbie U.S. wanderer Jack Fischer, will have 673 days underneath his space belt once he’s behind on a planet, amassed over 5 missions. Yurchikhin and Fischer arrived during a orbiting lab in April.

Whitson pronounced she could have stayed in circuit longer and that practice apparatus adult there is improved than ever for gripping skeleton and muscles strong. She’s been an wanderer given 1996 and is married to a associate biochemist, Clarence Sams, who works during a space center.

A plantation lady from Iowa, Whitson enjoyed flourishing vegetables on a space station, all partial of systematic research, and generally enjoyed sampling some of a results. After so prolonged in space, she longed for uninformed furnish and did her best to jazz adult a freeze-dried and just-add-water space meals.

Last month, Whitson posted a print of herself on Twitter, “soaking adult some nightfall time” in a space station’s regard deck. “638 days in space and a perspective is still amazing!” she tweeted.

After alighting behind on Earth in Kazakhstan (where it will be Sunday), Whitson and Fischer won’t be drifting true behind to Houston on a NASA plane. The charge behind NASA’s craft from removing there in time to move a dual behind right away, pronounced moody executive Zeb Scoville. They will accommodate adult with a craft in Cologne, wanderer domicile for a European Space Agency. A Sunday night attainment in Houston is expected.

What’s subsequent for Whitson? “I am not certain what a destiny binds for me personally, though we prognosticate myself stability to work on spaceflight programs,” she wrote. She also skeleton on “paying brazen some of a recommendation and mentoring that we perceived on my journey.”

Station officials would like zero better. “She needs to be a blueprint,” pronounced Dan Hartman, a station’s emissary module manager.

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