Astronaut breaks American record for time in space, honored by Trump

After spending more than a year and a half living in space throughout her career, astronaut and International Space Station commander Peggy Whitson has received a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump to commemorate her record breaking time in orbit.

Ms Whitson broke the Nasa cumulative record set past year by astronaut Jeffrey Williams; Scott Kelly holds the U.S. record for consecutive days in space - 340. According to NASA, Whitson will have accumulated more than 650 days in space by the time she returns to Earth.

Moreover, US President Donald Trump call from the International Space Station was accompanied by Ivanka Trump who set behind his side and Dr. Kate Rubins.

"On behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of our world, I'd like to thank you", the president added.

Trump said he was very proud that he signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars.

Whitson said she's excited about the new legislation and said there is equipment being made now in preparation for the launch.

Whitson has worked for NASA since 1989 and took her first space flight in 2002.

"This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight", Trump said in a phone call to space, broadcast live on NASA television. She has since become the first woman to command ISS twice, as well as one-half of the first time two female commanders have been in orbit at the same time.

"I'm glad to hear that", Trump responded. "Better you than me".

During the 20-minute video conference, the group talked about life in space, research at the space station, the journey to Mars, and women and girls in STEM.

The world record - 879 days - is held by Russian Gennady Padalka.

In response to a question about what the astronauts are learning in space, Whitson noted the scarcity of water and described an experiment in which urine is converted to drinking water.

Behind her, a banner read: "Congrats Peggy!"

"Well, we want to try and do it during my first term", Trump replied. But the president, undeterred, said later in the call that such a mission could take place "a lot sooner than we're even thinking".



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