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NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Breaks US Spaceflight Record, Receives Congratulatory Call From Trump

First Posted: Apr 25, 2017 04:25 AM EDT
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Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson added yet another feather to her cap on Monday by becoming the first U.S. astronaut with the most cumulative time in space. In simpler words, the NASA astronaut has now spent more time in space than any other American by logging 534 days, 2 hours and 49 minutes (and counting) away from Earth, thereby breaking Jeffrey (Jeff) Williams' record of spending 534 days in spaceflight.

According to NASA, the space veteran would have spent over 650 days in space by the time she returns to Earth. Whitson has achieved a lot and broken many records in her illustrious career as an astronaut. In 2008, she became the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS). Later that year, Whitson broke another record by becoming the first woman to command the ISS twice. The 57-year-old astronaut also has the honor of conducting the maximum number of spacewalks (eight) by a woman. The "space ninja," as called by her colleague astronaut Jack Fischer, is also the oldest female spacewalker as well as the oldest female astronaut.

To congratulate Peggy Whitson on her achievement, U.S. President Donald Trump made a call to the space station from the Oval Office. The President was joined by his daughter and close adviser Ivanka Trump and American astronaut Kate Rubins during the congratulatory call. Trump spoke at length with the record-breaking astronaut during the 20-minute "Earth-to-space" call session.

In addition to congratulating Peggy Whitson, President Donald Trump also asked her about details regarding the Mars schedule and when would a manned probe to the planet be realized. The astronauts on call from the ISS explained what is being done to make the Mars mission possible and how new equipment is being built for the same.

The conversation between Trump and the astronauts also steered toward how the president is more impressed with astronauts than politicians as well as queries related to Peggy Whitson’s research on recycling urine to make it drinkable.

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