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Record-Breaking Female Astronaut Defies Odds Yet Again

Record-Breaking Female Astronaut Defies Odds Yet Again”

"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".

This mission - her third - will now last close to 10 months. "Having three more months to squeeze is just what I would wish for".

Already poised to break the record for cumulative time spent in space by a USA astronaut, Whitson is set to extend her mission with an additional three months at the International Space Station.

Iowa-born astronaut Peggy Whitson will be getting more time in space, while adding another command title to her resume.

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To facilitate the extension of Whitson's expedition, NASA coordinated with Russian space agency Roscosmos to cut one astronaut from Russia's crew soon arriving at the space station, leaving a vacant seat for Whitson on their return trip.

The relationship between the two countries' space programs has been mutually beneficial for decades, pretty much all the way back to the end of the Cold War. Former astronaut Scott Kelly holds the USA record for the longest single flight at 340 days.

Komarov said many medical and technological issues remain to be resolved before humans travel beyond the station's orbit.

Russia is open to extending its partnership in the International Space Station with the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada beyond the now planned end of the program in 2024, the head of the Russian space agency said on Tuesday.

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Peggy Whitson broke the previous record held by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams of 50 hours and 40 minutes. She's also spent more time on spacewalks than any other woman, and she's set to go on yet another spacewalk in the coming months.

"This is great news", Whitson said.

Peggy Whitson is no stranger to defying steep odds.

The arrangement takes advantage of a Soyuz seat left empty by the Roscosmos decision to temporarily reduce their crew complement to two cosmonauts. With Whitson's extended stay, the orbiting outpost will continue to have a full crew of six.

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"By extending the stay of one of NASA's most veteran astronauts, our research, our technology development, our commercial and our global partner communities will all benefit", Shireman added.



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