Astronaut Peggy Whitson is no stranger to breaking barriers: In addition to becoming the first woman commander of the International Space Station (ISS), the Iowa native has logged 377 days in space between two missions — the most of any American spacewoman to date. Now, on her third mission aboard the ISS, Whitson is racking up even more impressive feats — today, she performed her eighth spacewalk, setting the record for most spacewalks performed by a woman.
Image: Peggy Whitson/NASA Johnson via Flickr
The purpose of the spacewalk was to adjust a docking port, which will essentially be a parking spot for SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew capsules, the AP reports. At around 11:00PM AEDT, Whitson and ISS commander Shane Kimbrough began their preparations, while the rest of the crew just sort of chilled.
“You guys be safe and enjoy your time out,” French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said inside the ISS.
Whitson during her seventh spacewalk in January. (Image: Peggy Whitson/NASA Johnson via Flickr)
The previous female record holder for spacewalks, Sunita “Suni” L. Williams, logged 50 hours and 40 minutes in spacewalking time. Whitson’s spacewalk today was scheduled to last about six and a half hours, not only pushing her past Williams’ record for most time logged, but making her the third most experienced spacewalker of all time, only behind Anatoly Solovyev (68 hours) and former astronaut Mike Lopez-Alegria (67 hours). After today, Whitson will have accumulated 59 hours in spacewalking, but hey, that could grow — she won’t be back on Earth until some time in spring.
All of us Earthlings couldn’t be prouder of Whitson. Here’s to all the records she has yet to break.