NASA’s record breaking American Astronaut Peggy Whitson is all set to take off from the International Space Station where she lived for about nine months. She will leave the ISS along with her two crew members Jack Fischer from NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on September 2 and is scheduled to land in Kazakhstan on September 3. Due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey, NASA’s Johnson Space Center could not connect with Whitson for a final in-flight news conference. But she was able to participate in an email conversation that took place between her and the Associated Press’s Marcia Dun who is a press pool representative.
When asked about her thoughts regarding the extended stay in the space station, she told that all of her flights had been quite fast but the last week was slowest of them might because of the added thoughts of going back to home.
Throwing some lights on the recent devastating Hurricane Harvey, Whitson said that her home is fine, but this has affected her friends and co-workers staying in the ISS. She told about how other team members of the space station slept on the coats in the backup mission control rooms and how they sacrificed everything to keep the mission running. They were worried about their families and friends who were affected by Harvey, but still, all of them worked together providing strengths and encouragement to each other.
When asked about what she missed most about Earth she smiled and said that she would love to eat Pizza when she reaches home. Again when asked about what she will miss about the space, she answered that she would definitely miss the freedom of moving and floating with the lightest of the touch especially when she returns to home and is completely pulled by gravity again. She will miss the ecstatic view of earth that she was able to see from the vantage point in space. She will surely miss the awe-inspiring creation of the beautiful space station, and along with that, she will miss those enthusiastic, dedicated, hard working astronauts and space station members who are sacrificing everything for the betterment of our Planet and its inhabitants. She will miss the incredible sense of satisfaction, gratitude, and pride that she got through working with NASA and its team members.
When asked about the records that she will be breaking, she told that she did not like to be praised for records but insisted that the records will work as proof that we are moving forward in right direction as far as space science is concerned. She feels that if she could share her experience and mentor her juniors or young astronomers regarding her long stay in space, then that would be a big achievement for her. In the end, she said that she wants to contribute immensely towards the upcoming spaceflight team who are ready to move forward in the exploration of space.