Peggy Whitson Bio

Video highlights from One Strange Rock

Peggy Whitson - PH.D., NASA Astronaut

Astronaut Peggy Whitson, who recently set a NASA record for the most days in space, is among the legendary group of astronauts to tell Earth’s fascinating story in National Geographic’s new series ONE STRANGE ROCK, executive produced by Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures and Jane Root’s Nutopia. Having experienced our fragile and wondrous planet from space, Whitson helps bring to life the extraordinary story of Earth and why there’s really no place like home.

The first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS) – twice – Whitson completed her third journey in space on September 3, 2017, where she served as commander of Expedition 51 and as flight engineer for Expeditions 50 and 52. With a total of 665 days in space and placing eighth on the all-time space endurance list, Whitson holds the U.S. record for the most days in space. The Iowa native also holds the record for the most total spacewalking time for a female astronaut, having done 10 spacewalks in her career. Between trips to space, Whitson was named chief of the astronaut office in 2009, becoming the first female to hold the position, in which she remained until 2012.

On her latest mission with Expeditions 50/51/52, Whitson travelled 122.2 million miles and made 4,623 orbits of Earth. While living and working aboard the ISS, the crew pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

A record-breaking astronaut, Whitson has received numerous awards from NASA including the NASA Sustained Superior Performance Award (1990); the NASA Space Act Award for Patent Application (1994); the NASA Certificate of Commendation (1994); the NASA Tech Brief Award (1995); two NASA Space Act Board Awards (1995, 1998); the NASA Silver Snoopy Award (1995); three NASA Exceptional Service Medals (1995, 2003, 2006); the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2006); and two NASA Space Flight Medals (2002, 2008). She was a member of the Astronaut Selection Board in 2004 and served as the chair in 2009.

Whitson, an advocate for STEM education and women in space, enjoys weightlifting, biking, basketball and water skiing in her free time.

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