Peggy Whitson becomes first woman to command ISS twice

Peggy Whitson becomes first woman to command ISS twice

American astronaut Peggy Whitson has become the first woman to command the International Space Station (ISS) twice. She assumed the role of the space station commander as three astronauts are returning to Earth.

Whitson, a NASA astronaut, stepped back into the role the ISS’ commander at 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) on Monday during a change-of-command ceremony.

Previously, Whitson served as the first female space station commander in the year of 2008, during Expedition 16. In between, only one other female served as space station commander, viz. Sunita Williams.

NASA astronaut Kimbrough and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov departed at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415 GMT) today. They are returning in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Besides being the first female to command the orbiting lab twice, Whitson has broken several other records, including being the oldest woman to go into space and spending the most cumulative time spacewalking.