Peggy Whitson, the world’s oldest and most experienced spacewoman, announced her retirement from the U.S. space agency NASA at age 58.
In 2017, Whitson broke the record for women astronauts with the most total spacewalks outside the International Space Station, 400 kilometers above Earth.
During a March 2017 spacewalk, she and station commander Shane Kimbrough completed preparations for a new docking port at the station. The port will serve as a “parking spot” for future missions, with crews transported by companies Boeing and SpaceX.
As an astronaut, Whitson completed three long-duration missions to the International Space Station, setting records on each.
During her most recent mission, from November 2016 to September 2017, Whitson became the first woman to command the space station twice.
Altogether, she’s spent more than 665 days off the planet’s surface, more than any other American astronaut.
“Peggy Whitson is a testament to the American spirit,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Way to go, @AstroPeggy!
Gelatin in space! Looks a bit like a tadpole when it is floating around, but I promise it was a tasty treat for us on @Space_Station. pic.twitter.com/wlBsC60P5f
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) January 21, 2017
This article draws on a report from the Associated Press.
A different version of this article was published on March 30, 2017.