New Delhi: NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who will be departing for the International Space Station (ISS) on November 17 to be a part of Expedition 50, is all set to become the the oldest woman in space.
Whitson will celebrate her 57th birthday in February, 2017 aboard the ISS, beating Barbara Morgan, who was 55 when she went into space in 2007.
This will be the third space station mission for the Iowa-born biochemist and her second time as commander.
“'I love working at NASA, but the part that has been the most satisfying on a day-to-day basis, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute, has been working on board the space station,' Whitson told reporters over the summer, as per the Associated Press.
'It doesn't matter if I'm cleaning the filters. I feel like I'm helping personally push forward exploration. ... that's the why I want to go again.'
Whitson was the first woman to serve as commander of the space station — in 2007, nine years into its lifetime. She also was the first — and so far only — woman to head NASA's male-dominated astronaut corps. No other woman has spent more time in space, the Associated Press reported.
Peggy Whitson's Expedition 50 crew members also include Russian cosmonaut, 45-year-old Oleg Novitskiy and Frenchman and space first-timer, 38-year-old Thomas Pesquet.
Her upcoming ISS mission would require her to spend six months in NASA's orbiting laboratory, bringing her total days spent in space to more than 534 days, which was the highest US record clocked by 58-year-old astronaut Jeff Williams in September.