Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return to Earth

Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return to Earth

NASA Television and the agency's website will provide complete coverage of their departure and landing. The trio will undock their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the space station at 5:58 p.m. EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 9:22 p.m. (7:22 a.m. September 3, Kazakhstan time).

During the change-of-command ceremony, Bresnik took over from Yurchikhin, who presented him with a symbolic "key to the space station".

At the time of their landing, she will have accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career, more than any American astronaut, placing her eighth on the all-time space endurance list, NASA said.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson was the last to be carried from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Russian recovery crews, along with NASA flight surgeons and support personnel, quickly reached the spacecraft to help the returning crew members out of the cramped descent module as they begin their re-adjustment to the unfamiliar tug of gravity.

NASA space champ Peggy Whitson is on her way back to Earth to wrap up a record-breaking flight.

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 broke Jeff Williams' standing U.S. record of 534 cumulative days in space. They have been at the Space Station for over nine months.

Fellow expedition crew member cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin has clocked up 673 days in space after five flights.

The astronauts' return comes as the Texas city of Houston, home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, has been struggling to get back to normalcy after a week of deadly flooding triggered by Hurricane Harvey. He spent 136 days in orbit.

The space station's crew normally is evenly split between the Russians and the USA segment, with three cosmonauts and three astronauts representing NASA, ESA, Japan and Canada.

The astronaut has said she is unsure whether this most recent space mission will be her last. Their Russian Soyuz capsule undocked from the International Space Station just hours earlier.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female. NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will then dock at the ISS in their Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft and will spend the next six months in space.


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