NASA's Peggy Whitson Becomes Oldest Woman in Space

Whitson's multiple records reflect a distinguished career as an astronaut.

November 18, 2016, 7:24 PM

— -- As Expedition 50/51 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:20 a.m. local time on Friday, American astronaut Peggy Whitson became the oldest woman to travel in space.

The Iowa-born biochemistry researcher and astronaut is set to break more than just one record during her third-ever visit to the International Space Station.

Whitson will also become the first woman to command the orbital complex twice. She already holds the record for the longest time spent in space by a woman with 377 days.

Joined by Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, the crew is expected to arrive at the ISS on Saturday, where an American and two Russians will welcome them.

They are tasked with completing a series of scientific experiments until their return in the spring of 2017.

The record for the oldest man in space in John Glenn at 77 years old. Barbara Morgan held the previous record for women at 55 years old.

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