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. She 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. It is the 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. It 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 was already the world's most experienced spacewoman and female spacewalker. At 57, she is the oldest woman in space. By the time she returns to Earth in September, she'll have logged 666 days in orbit. That total is over three flights.
 
The world record is 879 days. It 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 she is 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 recently arrived at the space station and took part in the phone call with the president. He 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. The date will depend 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. Last summer, she 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 she 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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the record “U.S. only?”
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (77)
  • lauraw-kut
    5/01/2017 - 08:05 p.m.

    Braking a record sounds amazing. The fact that its for the country is even more so. I believe that she is going to keep trying to brake the world record. In my opinion, it proves that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

  • joshuaa-bur
    5/02/2017 - 08:23 a.m.

    Its a US record because a man named Gennady (a German)has surpassed that record already, but in the US the longest trip was 340 but of course she broke that record. I just wonder if you feel like you are upsidedown all the time in space.

  • alexanderj-bur
    5/02/2017 - 09:18 a.m.

    The record is U.S. only since a Russian guy has been in space longer, there is a new record for the U.S. I like how trump talks about "Better you then me".

  • nathanm14-ste
    5/02/2017 - 01:13 p.m.

    This record is exclusive to the US because Gennady Padalka, a Russian air force officer, had broken the record at 879 days. The commies beat us yet again.

  • jacquelineb-pla
    5/02/2017 - 01:37 p.m.

    The article discussed the recent accomplishment of 57-year old astronaut, Peggy Whitson, who broke the U.S. record for the longest time in space. Whitson has spent 534 days in space and has conducted various research projects on the advancement of aeronautical technology. Whitson received a call from Trump after her accomplishment and discussed the necessity of funding for space programs. This article reflects civic engagement because of Whitson's advocacy for space programs. Whitson used her platform to address the decreased emphasis of space funding, and celebrate the accomplishments of space technology.

  • LStarnes-ing
    5/02/2017 - 03:50 p.m.

    This is an awesome article! I wonder why the U.S record is U.S only.

  • MStarnes-ing
    5/02/2017 - 03:52 p.m.

    I wounder how long you have to go to college to be in space for that large amount of time.

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

    I believe that Trump really don't care about Astronaut.He just want to make it seem like he care when he really dont.

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

    she is a very impressive lady to still be working as a astronaut at the age of 57

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

    I think its cool that at her age she is able to got to outer space and explore how the universe works.

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