Record-breaking astronaut Peggy Whitson returns to Earth after 288 days in space

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HOUSTON — Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crew mates are scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth on Saturday.

Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA float through the Harmony module of the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA

Whitson, fellow Expedition 52 flight engineer Jack Fischer of NASA and Cmdr. Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will undock their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft from the space station.

As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, NASA is reviewing return plans to Houston. The crew will participate in standard post-flight medical evaluations.

While living and working aboard the space station, the Expedition 52 crew pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only orbiting laboratory.

Whitson is completing a 288-day mission that began in November, spanning 122.2 million miles and 4,623 orbits of Earth. This most recent trip is her third long-duration stay on the outpost.

At the time of their landing, she will have accrued 665 days in space over the course of her career, more than any American astronaut, placing her eighth on the all-time space endurance list.