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Peggy Whitson Just Outdid All Fellow US Astronauts

She breaks the record of 534 cumulative days in space
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2017 8:05 AM CDT
Updated Apr 24, 2017 10:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Another day, another milestone for US astronaut Peggy Whitson: On Monday, she set the record for cumulative days in space by American. NASA tweeted that Whitson, currently on her third mission, surpassed Jeff Williams' record of 534 days. "It's actually a huge honor to break a record like this," Whitson told President Trump, who called her Monday morning to offer congratulations. "It's an honor for me to be representing all the folks at NASA who make space travel possible and make me setting this record feasible." The 57-year-old first went into space in 2002, and she became the first woman to command the International Space Station five years later, notes the BBC. In March, she went on her eighth spacewalk, the most by a female astronaut, adds CNN.

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"On behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of our world, I'd like to thank you," Trump told the astronaut. The president, accompanied by daughter Ivanka on the linkup, also asked Whitson about a potential visit to Mars, and she responded that it will take time, money, and international cooperation but will be well worth the effort. "We want to do that during my first term or, at worst, my second," Trump joked. "We'll have to speed that up a little, OK?" Whitson returns to Earth in September. (Read more Peggy Whitson stories.)

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