Peggy Whitson ends record-setting space trip

Peggy Whitson
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is helped out of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft just minutes after she and two fellow spacefliers landed in a remote area Kazakhstan. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and two other spacefliers capped off a record-setting orbital mission today with their return from the International Space Station.

The trio, also including NASA’s Jack Fischer and Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin, landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, about four and a half hours after their undocking.

Fischer and Yurchikhin had been on the station since April, but Whitson was in space much longer – since last November, 288 days ago. That brought her cumulative time in space to 665 days, setting the record for NASA astronauts.

This mission also made Whitson the oldest woman to fly in space (age 57) and the most experienced woman spacewalker (with 10 orbital outings).

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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