Record-breaking United States astronaut Peggy Whitson returns to Earth

Record-breaking United States astronaut Peggy Whitson returns to Earth

She and the other crew members aboard the International Space Station also pursued hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

Before closing the hatch to Soyuz, Whitson, Fischer and Yurchikhin said goodbye to Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency and NASA's Randy Bresnik, who are taking over as Expedition 53 aboard the ISS.

As a result of the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, NASA is reviewing return plans to Houston of Whitson, Fischer and the science samples landing in the Soyuz spacecraft. After the crew gets checked out in a medical tent on-site, the helicopters will carry them back to Kazakhstan's Karaganda airport for a traditional welcoming ceremony before they board planes and head home.

She also performed her 10th spacewalk, more than any other woman.

Fischer and Yurchikhin had been on the station since April, but Whitson was in space much longer - since last November, 288 days ago.

Bresnik and his Soyuz MS-05 crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy and Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli will have the station to themselves until September 13 when three fresh crewmates - Soyuz MS-06 commander Alexander Misurkin, NASA flight engineer Mark Vande Hei and Joseph Acaba - arrive to boost the lab's crew back to six.

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Whitson broke the US record of 534 cumulative days in orbit during the mission.

Also accompanying Whitson and Yurchikhin on their way home is USA astronaut Jack Fischer, who will have spent 136 cumulative days in orbit on touchdown.

"We are in your debt for the supreme dedication that you guys have to the human mission of exploration", Bresnik told them before their departure.

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. He logged 673 days over five missions.

Whitson left the International Space Station on Saturday, along with another American and a Russian. Living and working aboard the space station is where I feel like I make the greatest contribution, so I am constantly trying to squeeze every drop out of my time here.

"I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family", Whitson said during another interview. "I love being up here".

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