Astronaut Peggy Whitson Breaks Record; Will Receive Congratulatory Call from the President

Trump will be joined by daughter Ivanka Trump and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins for the 20-minute call which will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency's website and Facebook page.

Whitson has had quite the illustrious career so far, making her first expedition to the Space Station in 2002, before being named the first female commander of ISS in 2007.

"It's really not as bad as it sounds", she assured the president. The congratulations was part of a greater push from the President (with the support of Ivanka) to promote women in STEM.

As of today, astronaut Peggy Whitson has spent more time in space than any other American. Whitson, 57, broke the record for the most cumulative time in space by an American astronaut early Monday. She said she was inspired by the U.S. Apollo program that first brought man to the moon, but it was not until later, when the first women become astronauts, that she set her sights on joining them.

In this January 13, 2017 file photo made available by NASA, astronaut Peggy Whitson, center, floats inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station with Thomas Pesquet, left, and Shane Kimbrough before their spacewalk.

NASA has not launched an astronaut into space without the help of the Russians for the last five years, forcing the U.S.to pay Russia $71 million dollars per astronaut lifted to the ISS.

Whitson has been at the space station since November 19, 2016. Whitson said the International Space Station is providing a "key bridge from us doing- living on Earth to going somewhere into deep space".

Their talk soon turned to Trump's plan to send people to Mars, with Whitson saying that at NASA, "we're excited about the missions to Mars in the 2030s".

Trump said he's more impressed by the astronauts than by any of the politicians he deals with in Washington.

"We want to do that during my first term or, at worst, my second", Trump joked.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the president's comments were meant to be taken literally.

"Well that's good. I'm glad to hear that".

Commander Whitson added: "We'll do our best!" He has flown four missions, including on Space Shuttle Atlantis, and returned from the space station just last September.

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