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Record-breaking Astronaut Peggy Whitson returns to Earth

03 September 2017

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and other two crew members made a parachute touchdown in Kazakhstan on Sunday, capping a career-total 665 days in orbit, which has become a United States record surpassing that of any other American and any other woman across the world. It is expected to touch down southeast of Kazakhstan's Zhezkazgan at 4:22 Moscow time.

Launched last November 17 aboard the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft, Whitson logged 288 days in space during her third, extended mission while Yurchikhin and Fischer logged 136 days.

Whitson was originally scheduled to return from the space station in June, but extended her stay to take advantage of a later opening in Russia's space schedule.

Return to Earth NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fisher and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.

Fischer returned after 136 days away. She's hungry for pizza and can't wait to use a regular flush toilet again.

The astronaut has said she is unsure whether this most recent space mission will be her last.

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If all goes well, Fischer and Whitson, along with scientific samples brought down from the station, will get back to the Johnson Space Center Sunday night. "638 days in space and the view is still wonderful!" she tweeted.

"I have noted in more than a few interviews that I am not overly comfortable with the praise about the records", said Whitson in her email to the AP. Yurchikhin patted the inside of the station before floating into his Soyuz for the final time. Before their departure, command of the ISS was handed over to astronaut Randy Bresnik at a brief ceremony. "We will do our utmost to show the same dedication and fortitude every single day that you guys exemplified every single day".

Russian Fyodor Yurchijin and Americans Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, members of 52nd expedition to the ISS, landed at 7.21 a.m., near a remote area in Dzhezkazgan, reports Efe news. After so long in space, she longed for fresh produce and did her best to jazz up the freeze-dried and just-add-water space meals.

"The European Space Agency stepped up to the plate and offered the use of its plane that has been to Karaganda before", Navias said.

Seven Russian men have completed more time in space. "They will be poised in Karaganda to await the arrival of Whitson and Fischer". They will be joined by two Americans and a Russian following liftoff from Kazakhstan on September 12.

Record-breaking Astronaut Peggy Whitson returns to Earth