US astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent 288 days in space, to return home | world news | Hindustan Times
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US astronaut Peggy Whitson, who spent 288 days in space, to return home

Peggy Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will land in Kazakhstan.

world Updated: Sep 02, 2017 13:30 IST
In this image posted to her Twitter feed on May 30, 2017, astronaut Peggy Whitson holds up Chinese cabbage grown in the International Space Station.
In this image posted to her Twitter feed on May 30, 2017, astronaut Peggy Whitson holds up Chinese cabbage grown in the International Space Station.(AP)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the record for maximum time spent in space by any US astronaut, is set to return to Earth on Saturday, completing a 288-day mission at the International Space Station.

Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 9.22 pm on Saturday (6.52am Sunday India time).

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

Whitson’s return will mark the end of her third long-duration stay onboard the space station.

In this December 8, 2016 photo made available by NASA, astronaut Peggy Whitson floats through a tangle of cables inside the Columbus module aboard the International Space Station. Whitson was operating the Fluids System Servicer to refill coolant loops in multiple modules on the US segment of the station. (AP)

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 broke Jeff Williams’ standing US record of 534 cumulative days in space.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female.

Yurchikhin and Fischer, who launched in April, will complete 136 days in space on their return. Yurchikhin will return to Earth with a total of 673 days in space on his five flights, putting him in seventh place on the all-time endurance list.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 53 will begin aboard the station under the command of Randy Bresnik.

Along with his crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members.

Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch on September 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, NASA said.