Astronaut Peggy Whitson has finally returned to Earth after a record-breaking mission that will be remembered for years to come.
It was just a few days after Donald Trump was elected president that astronaut Peggy Whitson lifted off on behalf of NASA for the International Space Station. Two hundred and eighty eight days later, she’s back on the ground after smashing the record for most time in space by an American with 665 days total.
During her mission on the ISS, she was joined by NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. She touched down at 9:21 p.m. Eastern time, although it was Sunday morning at the site in Kazakhstan where she landed. Whitson returned on the Soyuz capsule that sent Fischer and Yurchikhin to the ISS back in April.
The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft undocked from the Poisk module on the ISS, with the three seats occupied by the three astronauts, at just before 6 p.m. Eastern time. Their journey took three hours and 24 minutes, when Soyuz smashed through Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of more than 500 miles per hour.
“Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson is set to leave the International Space Station – her home of the past nine months – on Saturday, Sept. 2, and return to Earth,” NASA said in a statement. “Impacts from Hurricane Harvey at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston caused her final in-flight news conference to be canceled, however, she was able to participate via email in the following interview with the Associated Press’s Marcia Dunn, acting as a press pool representative.
“Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 pm EDT on Saturday. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide complete coverage of their departure and landing.”