NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson can now expect to spend three additional months away from Earth at the International Space Station.
Whitson, a record-breaking astronaut, will stay with the Expedition 52 crew instead of returning home with her crewmates from Expedition 51.
NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, agreed to extend Whitson’s stay at the International Space Station in order to keep all six seats full after cutting one Russian cosmonaut from the crew.
“This is great news. I love being up here. Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like make the greatest contribution, so I am constantly trying to squeeze every drop out of my time here. Having three more months to squeeze is just what I would wish for,” Whitson said in a statement.
Whitson has spent over 500 days in space. She is the oldest woman to go to space and the first woman to command the ISS with Expedition 16. Whitson also broke the record for most cumulative spacewalking by a female astronaut.
“Peggy’s skill and experience makes her an incredible asset aboard the space station,” said Kirk Shireman, manager of NASA’s International Space Station program.
Photo courtesy of NASA
Chamberlain Smith is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.