A female NASA astronaut has broken the spacewalking record, adding another achievement to her belt.
Peggy Whitson broke the previous record held by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams of 50 hours and 40 minutes.
Whitson is the world’s oldest and most experienced spacewoman and is currently in the midst of her third stint at the International Space Station (ISS).
The flight engineer began her mission in November 2016 and NASA have recently confirmed that the mission will be extended by three months with Whitson returning to Earth in September.
Speaking about having her mission extended, Whitson said, “This is great news.”
“I love being up here.”
“Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like I make the greatest contribution, so I am constantly trying to squeeze every drop out of my time here.”
“Having three more months to squeeze is just what I would wish for.”
Kirk Shireman, NASA’s International Space Station Program Manager said, “Peggy’s skill and experience makes her an incredible asset aboard the space station.”
“By extending the stay of one of NASA’s most veteran astronauts, our research, our technology development, our commercial and our international partner communities will all benefit.”
Before her latest mission, Whitson already had 377 days in space under her belt and she is expected to break Jeff Williams’ standing United States record of 534 cumulative days in space on 24 April.
Whitson is no stranger to breaking records – in 2008, she became the first woman to command the space station and during this mission she will become the first woman to command it twice. She also holds the record for the most spacewalks by a woman.