Peggy Whitson

A World Record-breaking NASA Astronaut

Peggy Annette Whitson is an American biochemistry researcher, NASA astronaut, and former NASA Chief Astronaut. Peggy was born on February 9th 19960 and grew up on a farm in Beaconsfield Iowa. When Peggy attended college, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Iowa Wesleyan College. She also earned a PhD in biochemistry from Rice University.  Peggy began working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in in 1988. Peggy worked as a project scientist from 1992 to 1995 for the Shuttle-Mir Program, which was a collaborative spce program between Russia and the United States Later, Peggy was selected as an astronaut candidate and began her training in 1996.

In 2002, Peggy performed her very first space mission, an extended stay aboard the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 5. Her second mission launched October 10, 2007 as the first female commander of the ISS with Expedition 16. Peggy is NASA’s most experienced female astronaut, with just over 376 days in space. This also places her twenty-ninth among all space flyers. She is now in space as part of the crew of Expedition 50.

The flight of Space Shuttle mission STS-120, commanded by astronaut Pam Melroy, was the first time that two female mission commanders have been in orbit at the same time. After completion of her seventh EVA in January 2017, at age 56, Peggy holds the record for the oldest female spacewalker. Peggy continues to break world records. On March 30th, 2017, Peggy completed her 8th spacewalk, Peggy has now performed more spacewalks than any other woman in history! Peggy’s cumulative EVA time is 46 hours, 18 minutes, which placed her in 14th place for total EVA time. She is also the fist female to command the International Space Station twice! Go Peggy!