NASA astronaut sets a new record for time spent in space

Whitson, who's lived more than a year and a half at the International Space Station has set the US record for most cumulative days in space, beating Jeff Williams' of 534 days. A number of advisers, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, also were in the Oval Office during the call.

The American president congratulated Ms Whitson for setting a new space record yesterday (Monday) in a telephone call to space, broadcast live on NASA -television.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson on Monday set a new USA record for most cumulative days spent in space, surpassing cosmonaut Jeff Williams' record of 534 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS). "I think we'll do it a lot sooner than we're even thinking", he said.

After she broke the record this morning, fans and fellow astronauts shared their love and support on social media.

"Station, this is your president, do you hear me?"

Commander Whitson said her dream to be an astronaut came from the Apollo program that sent men to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

CORNISH: Now, she not only holds this record for time spent in space. "Unfortunately Space Flight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will require some worldwide cooperation in order to make it successful", said Whitson.

Ms Whitson is also the first woman to command the space station twice and the only woman to have led Nasa's astronaut corps.

Before today's presidential call the Expedition 51 crew members joined together to review their roles and responsibilities in the unlikely event of an emergency aboard the International Space Station. The astronauts have to drink such water, and when Trump asked Whitson about it, she reassured him that it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

During a video call with NASA astronauts Monday, President Donald Trump joked that he wouldn't want to re-use human urine as drinking water - a practice common in United States spaceflight.

Trump, who has proposed keeping the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's annual $19.5 billion budget roughly unchanged next fiscal year, asked about plans for human trips to Mars, tentatively to start in the 2030s. And so by studying math, science, engineering, any kind of technology, you're going to have a part in that. Last month, President Trump made humans reaching Mars by the 2030s an official goal for the space agency.

A year and a half later, Whitson took over as chief of NASA's astronaut office at the Johnson Space Center, the first female, non-military astronaut to head the office.

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