In photos: Record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson

Woman strong


Celebrating International Women's Day a little early in February of 2017, ESA's Thomas Pesquet has some fun with astronaut Peggy Whitson munching on some space-grown lettuce and expresses how much he appreciates being on a team.

Working hard


During an extravehicular activity on November 24, 2007, astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander and her crewmate Daniel Tani, flight engineer aide in construction of the International Space Station. The over seven-hour spacewalk had them continue fitting the Harmony node outside the Destiny laboratory in its new position.

Practice and learn


At the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near the Johnson Space Center, astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition Five flight engineer, practices an emergency bailout training session on July 12, 2001. United Space Alliance crew trainer David Pogue and Johnson Engineering diver Marquis Gibbs assist.

Getting it done


A January 6, 2017, spacewalk during Expedition 50 took NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough to new heights on the ISS. They successfully completed the initial mission of installing new adapter plates and connecting electoral connections for three new lithium-ion batteries. They also took a photo survey of the Alpha Magnetic Spectromer, executing some get-ahead tasks as well.

Breaking down barriers


Now astronaut Peggy Whitson, pictured here as Expedition 5 flight engineer in November 2001, held several different roles at NASA beginning in 1989 before beginning her journey as an astronaut in 1996. She has flown to the International Space Station three times as of November of 2017 and she holds the record for most days spent in space by a woman.

Doing what she went to do


Between the Harmony node and Destiny laboratory, astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, worked aboard the International Space Station on January 6, 2017.

Constructing the ISS


November 24, 2007 during Expedition 16, astronaut Peggy Whitson, commander for the mission, performed an EVA with her crewmate Shane Kimbrough. Before this expedition Whitson has completed six successful spacewalks.

Big smile


Inside the Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, enjoys floating around.

Fantastic job


As construction continued on the ISS, astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, completed an extravehicular activity session with cosmonaut Yuri I. Malenchenko, flight engineer for Russia's Federal Space Agency. The pair arranged to relocate the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 and the future move of the Harmony node to its final ISS home.

Important research


Aboard the International Space Station in the Destiny laboratory, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, prepares to document the Capillary Flow Experiment Vane Gap-1. The equipment sits on the Maintenance Work Area. The experiment records the flow of fluid, specifically capillary phenomena, under the effects of microgravity.

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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.