She holds the NASA record for time spent in space. This week she headed back
Before this week, Peggy Whitson had spent a cumulative 665 days in space over her career, giving her the NASA record. She's not done yet.
Who is she? Whitson, 63, is a biochemistry researcher, retired NASA astronaut, and colloquially known as "the space ninja."
What's the big deal? Though her NASA days are over, Whitson recently went back to space on a chartered flight as commander. It included Saudi Arabia's first astronauts in decades.
Want to learn about another inspiring person? Listen to Consider This on Michael J. Fox and his battle against Parkinson's.
What are people saying?
"It was a phenomenal ride," is what Whitson had to say after reaching orbit, according to the AP.
Here are some thoughts she shared in conversation with NPR a few years ago:
Gravity always sucks. It really, really does...
It's a big challenge just re-adapting to feeling heavy again, you know? Even my arm feels heavy. My legs feel heavy.
On readjusting once you're back from space:
I find it very difficult. I always call it the post-flight funk, where I'm just not sure what the objective is now anymore. It's funny, because when you have that daily routine of, "Here's how much I want to try and get done today," it gives you — gives me anyway — a lot of motivation and a lot of direction. And the initial return process feels a little directionless.
And just for fun, here's William Shatner's haunting account of space travel after leaving the planet for a bit with Jeff Bezos's company Blue Origin:
It was the death that I saw in space and the life force that I saw coming from the planet — the blue, the beige and the white, and I realized one was death and the other was life.
“What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine,” William Shatner, back from space, tells Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. "I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.” https://t.co/kQc9VBTOVy pic.twitter.com/4QR5aluuwj— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) October 13, 2021
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