New ISS crew members Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, Thomas Pesquet, KG5FYG, and Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are settling in on board the International Space Station this week. The trio headed into space on November 17 for a 6-month stay. Welcoming the Expedition 50/51 crew members were Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough, KE5HOD, and crew members Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who have been aboard the complex since October.
Whitson, who will turn 57 during this ISS duty tour, is marking her third trip to space. She will become the first woman to command the space station twice. Her first tenure as commander was in 2007, when she became the first woman to hold this post. The crew is scheduled to return to Earth next spring.
Whitson not only is the oldest woman in space at age 56, but she is projected during this mission to once again become the US astronaut logging the most time spent in orbit. All told, she’s already spent more than a year of her life in space. By the time she returns to Earth next spring, she’ll have 534 days of off-planet time under her belt.