Peggy Whitson just broke a record for a U.S. astronaut. As of 1:27 a.m. EDT on April 24, 2017, she had spent a cumulative 534 days, 2 hours, 49 minutes, and counting floating around the International Space Station, according to NASA. For the effort, she received a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump on Monday and, perhaps more important, the endless admiration of wannabe astronauts around the world.
It is one of those rides that you hope never ends. I am so grateful for all those who helped me on each of my missions! #LifeInSpace pic.twitter.com/msjKSg6WWH
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) April 23, 2017
Breaking records is nothing new for Whitson, who already holds the title of first female commander of the ISS. She’s also the oldest woman to fly to space for NASA, proving that when it comes to space travel (and Aaliyah songs), age ain’t nothing but a number.
Whitson’s latest record surpassed the U.S. record set by astronaut Jeff Williams, who lasted 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. By the time Whitson’s feet touch terra firma, she will have spent more than 650 days in space. While Whitson holds the U.S. record for cumulative space hours, the record for longest consecutive spaceflight is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent nearly 438 days on the former Russian Mir space station, according to Verge, while Gennady Padalka stayed on the ISS for a combined 878 days in space.