Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return home

Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return to Earth

Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return to Earth

Whitson returned to Earth with Jack Fischer, also with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who had been aboard the station since June.

Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is set to depart the International Space Station (ISS) and return to Earth after completing a 288-day long mission, the U.S. space agency said.

The Mission Control Center reports that the Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft has undocked from the International Space Station with three crew members on board. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik has taken over command of the station from Yurchikhin, according to NASA.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson (left), Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin (center) and NASA astronaut Jack Fischer (right) pose for a photo after landing in Kazakhstan on September 3, 2017 local time (late September 2, EDT). The crew is also set to go through a standard post-flight medical evaluations.

She checked out of the International Space Station just hours earlier, along with another American and a Russian.

The world record belongs to Russian Astronaut Gennady Padalka, who spent 879 days in space. Returning Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin has logged even more time in orbit: 673 days over five missions.

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 broke Jeff Williams' standing USA record of 534 cumulative days in space.

Altogether, Whitson has spent 665 days off the planet, more than any other American - also more than any other woman.

Their return is still scheduled for Sunday night, "just about the same time they would have returned to Houston had the NASA Gulfstream jet done this all by itself", Navias said, adding that none of the science experiments or research samples the crew brought back with them had been impacted. Three men remain at the space station: Bresnik, a Russian and an Italian. "My desire to contribute to the spaceflight team as we move forward in our exploration of space has only increased over the years", she said of her plans.

"Our home is fine, but so many friends and co-workers have been impacted [by the storm]", Whitson said in an interview with NASA.

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