Veteran NASA spacewoman getting 3 extra months in orbit

by Linda Olson April 7, 2017, 2:27
Veteran NASA spacewoman getting 3 extra months in orbit

She feels that she needs to make the most of her time there so that she can make the greatest contributions and that having three more months was what she would wish for. "I think our species should be exploring beyond this planet, and I think the work we are doing here on board the ISS is going to help us achieve those goals", she said.

Probably after opening hatch of Soyuz MS-03 and entering ISS through Rassvet docking port, she did not expect that her mission will be extended for another 3 months.

A question of extending the stay of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson on board the International Space Station (ISS) for another 3.5 months is nearly solved, Russia's space corporation Roscosmos head Igor Komarov told Sputnik on Tuesday.

The decision came from a Soyus seat that will be left empty by the Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos on April 20. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, NASA announced that Whitson will remain on the ISS until September 2017, adding three months to her original mission.

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To facilitate the extension of Whitson's expedition, NASA coordinated with Russian space agency Roscosmos to cut one astronaut from Russia's crew soon arriving at the space station, leaving a vacant seat for Whitson on their return trip. Former astronaut Scott Kelly holds the USA record for the longest single flight at 340 days.

The Daily Mail reported, Kirk Shireman, NASA's International Space Station Program Manager said Whitson's skills and experience makes her an incredible asset aboard the ISS.

Peggy Whitson is no stranger to defying steep odds. She also holds the distinction for being the woman who has done the most spacewalks. As a NASA astronaut, she's broken several records as the first woman to command the International Space Station, the oldest woman to venture into space at 57 years old, and the top female astronaut when it comes to collective space walking time. NASA managers wanted to ensure the station maintained a six-person crew to maximize research while Russian Federation temporarily reduces its crew to two cosmonauts. She's now on her third mission to the station, and recently broke records for most spacewalks by a woman with eight, and most hours spent spacewalking with more than 50. The station's research, technology development commercial and worldwide partner communities will greatly benefit by extending the stay of NASA's most veteran astronaut.

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