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Posted By: Sharon R Becker (email)
Date: 6/14/2010 at 02:23:55


Peggy A. WHITSON was born to Keith and Beth WHITSON on February 9, 1960 in Mount Ayr. The WHITSONS farmed near Beaconsfield, Iowa. On July 20, 1969, Peggy watched a television newscast of Neil ARMSTRONG's moon walk. Nine-year-old Peggy decided that she too would be an astronaut.

During high school she was a member of the basketball and track teams. Peggy graduated from Mount Ayr High School in 1978, the salutatorian of her class.

Peggy graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in three years with a double major in biology and chemistry. In 1985, she earned her doctorate in biochemistry from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Peggy worked for KRUG Lice Science, the prime medical contractor for NASA, and at the National Center of Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, where she helped set up controls for EBOLA and H1V virus testing. In 1989, Peggy began working for NASA as a research biochemist. She was the project scientist for the join U.S.A. and Russian Shuttle MIR Space Station and was the chair of the US/Russian Joint Working Group in space medicine and biology. Peggy also served as an adjunct assistant professor at Rice University. Throughout this time, Pegy made nine consecutive applications to NASA. In 1996 her dreams were fulfilled when she was accepted into the astronaut program.

In 1998-99, Peggy was the head lead for the support team of U.S.A. and Russia. Her mission was to spend six months in the international space station with two fellow male Russian cosmonauts, requiring her to learn to speak Russian.

Peggy's entire family and approximately 400 Ringgold County residents watched her launch into space on June 5, 2002 on Space Expedition-5. Peggy carried with her a Mount Ayr Community High School t-shirt.

SOURCE: FETTY, Jack. Rings of Gold Pp. 137-138. Palindrome Pub. Co. Iowa. 2007.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2010

* * * *

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 19, 2015, Page 1

Whitson heading back to space
NASA and its International Space Station partners have announced the crew members, including Ringgold County's own Peggy Whitson, for upcoming missions to the space station.

Whitson will be aboard Soyuz 49 when it lifts off from a Russian launch pad in December 2016 as part of Expedition 50 to the International Space Station. She is scheduled to return to Earth May 2017.

Raised in Beaconsfield, Whitson graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1978, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Chemistry from Iowa Weslyan College in 1981 and a Doctorate in Biochemistry from Rice University in 1985.

Whitson has previously completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the space station. She was the first female commander of the International Space Station, and she was named the first NASA science officer, designing and conducting numerous experiments in space. She sets records among American astronauts and women for most time in space - 377 days - and completed six spacewalks in her career totaling 39 hours and 46 minutes. In 2009 she became chief of the NASA astronaut corps, overseeing all astronaut activities including crew selection and training.

The daughter of Keith and Beth Whitson of Beaconsfield, Whitson credits her parents for much of her success. In a 2010 interview she said, "I think my parents probably are the biggest influences. I was raised [on] a farm; the two hardest-working people I know are my parents. And I think they always encouraged me, always told me, you know, you can do whatever you set your mind to. And . . .I think I even surprised them."

Expedition 50 is comprised of Whitson and fellow American Shane Kimbrough, three representatives from Roscomos, the Russian space agency, and one from the European Space Agency.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2015

NASA Biography of Peggy WHITSON

Ringgold Biographies maintained by Tony Mercer.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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