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Peggy Whitson
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Astronaut
    (February 9, 1960- )
    Born in Mount Ayr, Iowa
    Biochemist
    Took part in three missions to the International Space Station (June 5-December 7, 2002; October 10, 2007-April 19, 2008; November 19, 2016-September 3, 2017)
    Spent a cumulative total of 665 days in space
    When she joined NASA, she was thrilled at the prospect of being in Houston and missing Iowa’s winters – until she was sent to Russia to coordinate projects with their space agency.
    She applied to be an astronaut ten times before being accepted.
    Asked what she missed most while in space, she replied, ‘Flush toilets. Trust me, you don’t want to know the details.’
    During a congratulatory phone call from President Donald Trump, she mentioned that the astronauts’ urine is recycled into drinking water, drawing the reaction, ‘Better you than me.’
    She was the first female commander of the International Space Station (2007).
    She has spent more time in space than any other woman regardless of nationality and more time than any other American regardless of gender.
    Other records that she set include most space walks by a female astronaut (10) and oldest woman in space (age 57).
    She said breaking records was a nice bonus, but never her goal: ‘I don’t think about the records themselves too much, but when I do think about them, it makes me think about all the people at NASA that make it possible.’
    She noted about drinking recycled urine, ‘It’s really not as bad as it sounds.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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