Peggy Whitson returned to Earth on Saturday with an out-of-this-world record under her belt. After spending 288 days at the International Space Station on her latest mission, the NASA astronaut and biochemist has clocked more cumulative hours in space than any other American in history and any other woman on Earth.
Whitson has now spent a total of 665 days in space, including two previous ISS missions in 2002 and 2007-2008. Her space endurance record far surpasses the previous NASA record of 534 days, which was set by astronaut Jeff Williams last year.
Globally, she’s now ranked eighth for the most amount of time spent in space. Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin, a cosmonaut who returned from the ISS with Whitson on Saturday, is in the seventh spot with 673 days in space. The top place belongs to another Russian, Gennady Padalka, who has spent 879 days off of Earth.
Whitson, 57, is no stranger to smashing records. As the Associated Press notes, she’s now the world’s oldest spacewoman and the most experienced female spacewalker.
Back in 2008, during her second ISS mission, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station. She was named commander again on her latest mission to the ISS.
Speaking from orbit in April, Whitson said she hopes to continue her trailblazing ways.
“I would definitely like to go to the moon or Mars or some other destination,” Whitson said. “Space Station has been phenomenal but I would like to take some of the next steps. I’m not sure if I will last that long, but I’ll give it my best.”
We’d sure place our bets on you, Peggy.