On Monday, April 24, 2017, President Donald J. Trump will call the commander of the International Space Station, astronaut Peggy Whitson, to congratulate her on breaking the American record for the most total days in space. The current record holder, Jeff Williams stayed in space for 534 days. Whitson will break that record for most cumulative days in space Monday at 1:27 a.m. EDT. In 2002, Whitson flew to space for the first time on the Expedition 5 mission and in 2007 she became the first female astronaut to take command of the International Space Station. Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks conducted by a female astronaut.
Details for the President’s call with astronaut Peggy Whitson:
When: Monday, April 24, 2017. — Time: 10:00 AM EDT
Where: The President will call the International Space Station from the Oval Office
Who: Ivanka Trump and astronaut Kate Rubins will join the President’s call with Commander Whitson and astronaut Jack Fischer will be joining Whitson at the International Space Station.
|Born||February 9, 1960
Mount Ayr, Iowa, U.S.
|Iowa Wesleyan College
Time in space
|Currently in space|
|Selection||1996 NASA Group|
Total EVA time
|53 hours, 22 minutes|
|Missions||STS-111, Expedition 5, STS-113, Soyuz TMA-11 (Expedition 16), Soyuz MS-03/Soyuz MS-04(Expedition 50/51/52)|
Whitson was born in Mount Ayr, Iowa, and grew up on a farm outside the nearby town of Beaconsfield, Iowa.Whitson graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1978 and received a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistryfrom Iowa Wesleyan College in 1981. She then went on to earn her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Rice University in 1985, and following completion of her graduate work, continued at Rice as a Robert A Welch Post-doctoral Fellow until October 1986. She is married to Clarence F. Sams, Ph.D.
Following her fellowship at Rice, she began working at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a National Research Council Resident Research Associate. From April 1988 until September 1989, Whitson served as the Supervisor for the Biochemistry Research Group at KRUG International, a medical sciences contractor at NASA-JSC.
From 1991 through 1997, Whitson was invited to be an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. In 1997, Whitson began a position as adjunct assistant professor at Rice University in the Maybee Laboratory for Biochemical and Genetic Engineering.
From 1992 to 1995, she served as project scientist for the Shuttle-Mir Program and, until her selection as an astronaut candidate in 1996, as deputy division chief for the Medical Sciences division at the Johnson Space Center.
From 1989 to 1993, Whitson worked as a research biochemist in the Biomedical Operations and Research Branch at NASA-JSC. From 1991 to 1993, she served as technical monitor of the Biochemistry Research Laboratories in the Biomedical Operations and Research Branch. From 1991 through 1992, she was the payload element developer for Bone Cell Research Experiment (E10) aboard SL-J (STS-47), and was a member of the US-USSR Joint Working Group in Space Medicine and Biology. In 1992, she was named the project scientist of the Shuttle-Mir Program (STS-60, STS-63, STS-71, Mir 18, Mir 19), and served in this capacity until the conclusion of the Phase 1A Program in 1995. From 1993 through 1996, Whitson held the additional responsibilities of the deputy division chief of the Medical Sciences Division at NASA-JSC. From 1995–1996, she served as co-chair of the U.S.-Russian Mission Science Working Group.
In April 1996, Whitson was selected as an astronaut candidate and started training in August 1996. Upon completing the two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Operations Planning Branch, and served as the lead for the Crew Test Support Team in Russia from 1998 to 1999. In June 2003, Whitson served as the commander of the NEEMO 5mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working underwater for fourteen days. From November 2003 to March 2005, she served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. From March 2005 to November 2005, she served as chief of the Station Operations Branch, Astronaut Office. Whitson trained as the backup ISS commander for Expedition 14 from November 2005 through September 2006, and as the ISS commander for Expedition 16, launched October 2007, on the Soyuz TMA-11. During Expedition 16 she surpassed Sunita Williams for woman with the most spacewalks.
Whitson served as Chief of the Astronaut Office until July 2012 and, as such, was responsible for mission preparation activities of International Space Station crews and their support personnel.