President Donald Trump welcomed NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, ex-KC5ZTD, and Jack Fischer, K2FSH, as they returned to Houston on September 3 following 6-month stints on board the International Space Station. Whitson, a veteran space traveler, broke the record among US astronauts — and women worldwide — for the most cumulative time in space. Whitson, Fischer, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, landed in Kazakhstan on Saturday after traveling from the ISS in a Russian Soyuz transporter. Trump spoke with Whitson and Fischer as they were en route by NASA plane to Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field.
“I want to congratulate Peggy and Jack for their incredible accomplishments. They make us all very proud,” Trump said. “Exploration has always been at the core of who we are as Americans, and their brave contributions to human spaceflight have continued that great tradition.”
Whitson, 55, now holds the record within the NASA corps of astronauts — 665 days — for most cumulative time in space, racked up during three long-duration missions. She is also the only female astronaut to command the ISS twice and was the first woman to do so. During her last mission, she was ISS commander from April 9 through June 1. Whitson also holds multiple spacewalking records. She was part of the ISS Expedition 5 crew in 2002, which was her first time in space.