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International Space Station Expedition L, 2015-2016

Expedition XVI.jpg

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.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2015

Expedition L (50) is planned for a crew size of six from November 2016 to March 2017.

Crew members of Expedition L that have been selected are:

Commander Andrei Borisenko, RSA, second spaceflight
Flight Engineer 1, Sergey Ryzhikov, RSA, first spaceflight
Flight Engineer 2, Robert S. Kimbrough, NASA, second spaceflight
Flight Engineer 3, Peggy A. Whitson, NASA, third spaceflight
Flight Engineer 4, Oleg Novitskiy, RSA, second spaceflight
Flight Engineer 5, Thomas Esquet, ESA, first spaceflight

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2015

  • Return to Dr. Peggy A. Whitson Biography Webpage

  • Peggy's NASA Biography (off IAGenWeb site)

  • Peggy Whitson Inducted into Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, 2011

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