Peggy Whitson spent a whopping 665 days over 250 miles above the surface of the Earth, and now, she's safe back on the ground in Kazakhstan, reports Engadget. That's the longest time spent on the International Space Station—not just for any female astronaut in the country, but for any American astronaut.
Before her arrival on the ISS in November of 2016, she had been aboard the ISS twice with over 375 days in space total. Whitson, now 57-years-old, had broken the duration record in April, but she felt like staying on for another three months for the hell of it, because she's a badass.
“This is great news,” Whitson said at the time in a NASA statement about her extension back in April. “I love being up here. Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like I 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 has broken several records, including being the oldest female astronaut to complete a spacewalk at age 56 and the most time spent outside the ISS (over 60 hours walking around space. No big deal). Whiston also commanded the ISIS during her 2008 mission, and she became the only woman to command more than once when she returned in 2016, according to Engadget. As if that's not enough, she also studied antibody experiments that could help cancer patients and studied the human eye under microgravity.
Before her NASA tenure, Whitson conducted her graduate work in biochemistry at Rice University in Houston Texas, then continued as a postdoctoral fellow until fall of 1986. She then studied at NASA Johnson Space Center and served as the supervisor for the Biochemistry Research Group at a medical sciences contractor at NASA-JSC, according to NASA. Whitson has also spent time teaching as an assistant professor at Rice University and was eventually selected as an astronaut candidate in 1996—and from there, it's all history.
Featured Photo via NASA.org/Flickr