In photos: Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson

Expedition 50/51 launch

NASA/Bill Ingalls

The Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Expedition 50 crewmembers NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 17 at 3:20 p.m. EST (2020 GMT).

Happy Thanksgiving!


The six-person crew of Expedition 50 celebrate Thanksgiving on the International Space Station on Nov. 24, 2016 with rehydrated turkey, stuffing, potatoes and vegetables.

Christmas dinner 2016


All six members of the Expedition 50 crew aboard the International Space Station celebrated the holidays together with a festive meal.

In the cupola


Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA sent holiday greetings and festive imagery from the cupola window on Dec. 18, 2016.



NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson works outside the International Space Station during a Jan. 6, 2017, spacewalk to update the outpost's power system.

Spacewalk prep work: Expedition 50

Thomas Pesquet/ESA via Twitter

European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet poses for a photo with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough as they prebreathe for a Jan. 6, 2017 spacewalk outside the International Space Station.



Peggy Whitson in her EVA suit before her seventh spacewalk on Jan. 6, 2017.



Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough gear up for their spacewalk on Jan. 6, 2017.

Spacewalker at the door: Peggy Whitson

Thomas Pesquet/ESA via Twitter

After a long spacewalk, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson is seen entering the International Space Station's Quest airlock in this photo by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet inside the station on Jan. 6, 2017.

EVA-40 help


As Thomas Pesquet worked on the space station's robotic arm from outside during a spacewalk on March 24, 2017, flight engineer Peggy Whitson operated the arm from inside the space station.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.