Astronaut breaks US space record
Astronaut breaks US space record President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka Trump, talks via video conference with International Space Station Commander Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer on the Space Station, Monday, April 24, 2017, from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh/NASA via AP, File)
Astronaut breaks US space record
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Astronaut Peggy Whitson has broken the U.S. record for most time in space and talked up Mars during a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump.
The International Space Station's commander surpassed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes for most accumulated time in space by an American.
"This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight," Trump said on the call April 25. His daughter and close adviser, Ivanka Trump, also offered congratulations to Whitson from the Oval Office.
Whitson said it's "a huge honor" to break such a record. "It's an exciting time" as NASA prepares for human expeditions to Mars in the 2030s, included in new legislation signed by Trump last month. She called the space station "a key bridge" between living on Earth and traveling into deep space, and she singled out the station's recycling system that transforms astronauts' urine into drinking water.
"It's really not as bad as it sounds," she assured the president.
"Well, that's good, I'm glad to hear that," he replied. "Better you than me."
Whitson already was the world's most experienced spacewoman and female spacewalker and, at 57, the oldest woman in space. By the time she returns to Earth in September, she'll have logged 666 days in orbit over three flights.
The world record - 879 days - is held by Russian Gennady Padalka. Whitson broke the NASA cumulative record set last year by astronaut Jeffrey Williams; Scott Kelly holds the U.S. record for consecutive days in space - 340.
Whitson is also the first woman to command the space station twice and the only woman to have led NASA's astronaut corps. Behind her was a banner that read: "Congrats Peggy!! New U.S. High-Time Space Ninja." The sign arrived on the commercial cargo ship, the S.S. John Glenn.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who recently arrived at the space station and took part in the phone call with the president, said the space station is "by far the best example of international cooperation."
Whitson told the president that spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting to Mars will require collaboration from other countries to succeed. NASA is building the hardware right now to test a new rocket that will carry astronauts farther from Earth than ever before, she said.
"Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term, so we'll have to speed that up a little bit, OK?" Trump replied.
"We'll do our best," Whitson replied.
The debut of the mega rocket is still more than a year away, at least, depending on whether astronauts are on board for the test flight, which could hoist the new Orion capsule to the vicinity of the moon.
Both Whitson and Fischer raised a hand when Trump asked which one of them was ready to go to Mars.
Joining Trump in the Oval Office was astronaut Kate Rubins, who last summer became the first person in space to perform entire DNA decoding, or sequencing. She said she used a device the size of a cellphone for the job, and noted that such sequencing can detect microbes aboard spacecraft and monitor astronaut health.
"That's fantastic," Trump said. "I've been dealing with politicians so much, I'm so much more impressed with these people, you have no idea."

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Why is the record “U.S. only?”
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  • abigailh-pla
    5/02/2017 - 12:42 p.m.

    This article illustrates the accomplishments of mainly astronaut Peggy Whitson who broke the US record for most time in space. Also discussed, are the space records not only in the US, but around the world. This is important because space travel is a huge international effort and the article states that the space station is, "by far the best example of international cooperation." Peggy Whitson is a great example of civic engagement as she paves the way for a future in space. The progress she is making right now could benefit generations to come!

  • MBrown-ing
    5/02/2017 - 03:56 p.m.

    trump is selfish like when he said ¨Well, that's good, I'm glad to hear that," he replied. "Better you than me."

  • TBrown-ing
    5/02/2017 - 04:02 p.m.

    I wonder when humans will actually be able to get to mars, and by extension, possibly live there? It is possible, right?

  • noahr-ste
    5/04/2017 - 01:08 p.m.

    Good for her. It is good to see women doing big things in the space program. Long ago, many people ruled out women as being a benefit to science and now they are leaders.

  • JScruggs17
    5/05/2017 - 02:04 p.m.

    I didn't know that the longest time in space was almost 537 days. It cool how the trumps show appreciation to him.

  • TLunsford03
    5/08/2017 - 10:03 a.m.

    It's good that they are making more records in space. Also, more advances to technology in space, which can lead to more records.

  • alexd1-bur
    5/15/2017 - 02:08 p.m.

    It's stating the record that only the U.S achieved. It's not stating any other countries record for being in space for the longest, only the U.S.

  • kadenk-ver
    5/19/2017 - 12:02 p.m.

    Because the us wants to show how powerful we are not other countries and to make people mor proud of there self and to try to get joe people motivated

  • tuckerc-cot
    8/28/2017 - 02:35 p.m.

    The record is U.S. only. The article states "By the time she returns to Earth in September, she'll have logged 666 days in orbit over three flights.The world record - 879 days - is held by Russian Gennady Padalka." This evidence from the text illustrates how the world record is 879 days while the U.S. record is 666 days, so she did not beat the world record but she did beat the U.S. record.

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