Astronaut Peggy Whitson has spent more time in space than any other American astronaut, and more than any woman in the world today. She’s also spent more time spacewalking than any female astronaut, at 53 hours and 22 minutes. She has accumulated 665 days total in her career. This kind of badassery should be known as “flying like a girl.”
She’s the only female astronaut to have commanded the International Space Station – twice. Giving young girls all over the world a bigger than life role model in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The sky is not the limit, and she is proof.
She completed a 288-day mission to the International Space Station. That mission alone was more time in orbit in a single spaceflight for any female astronaut. In a predominantly male industry, women like Whitson are blazing trails and setting records for our daughters and aspiring astronauts to break.
Peggy Whitson shared this photo of herself and the crew on Twitter:
So amazing to be a part of this crew! pic.twitter.com/MSR0GaXLCn
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) April 29, 2017
Flight Engineer Jack Fischer referred to Whitson as a “resident Space Ninja” as she did a gravity demonstration for Trump. She gives us a glimpse of her moves in a video below:
#Fitness is critical in space! Watch this #SpeedyTime video as I transform the multi-modal ARED machine during my workout. pic.twitter.com/nQEsRq0XHw
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) July 21, 2017
Research findings have shown that women like Whitson face barriers in the STEM fields, including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities. Research psychologists Denise Cummins found that women may be socialized to avoid STEM careers, which may be seen as “unfeminine” by society. This has led to a national effort by the National Science Foundation to encourage young girls and women to enter STEM fields, “unbrainwashing them” from society’s bias.
Women of NASA have recently gained much-deserved credit and fame with the film, Hidden Figures. The film tells the amazing story of three real-life African-American female pioneers: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Part of the true story is the fact that credit has come so late. Their efforts were hidden from public view, though the abilities of these pioneering NASA women made space travel a reality.
Today, the women of NASA are widely celebrated, and still breaking records, as Peggy Whitson demonstrates. And our girls have a Space Ninja to look up to, pretty awesome, really.
Featured image: Screenshot via Twitter