NASA's Peggy Whitson recently completed her third mission, and along with a total of 665 days in space -- the longest duration for an American astronaut -- created many other records. The first female International Space Station commander, Whitson completed a 288-day mission that began last November and spanned 122.2 million miles and 4,623 orbits of the Earth -- her third long-duration mission on the station. At the age of 57, Whitson is also the oldest female astronaut in the history of space exploration.
Here's a look at other women in space and astronomy and their achievements.
leaving a mark
Nancy Grace Roman: She was the first Chief of Astronomy at NASA. She is known as the 'Mother of Hubble' for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope.
Carolyn Shoemaker: She is a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 09. She once held the record for most comets discovered by an individual.
Maria Mitchell: In 1847 she discovered a comet, later called Miss Mitchell's Comet, by using a telescope.
Women in screen space
From Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek, to Dr Who's first female companion Barbara Wright, to Ellen Ripley in Alien, we have seen women connected to space portrayed in fiction. While endearing in most creations, in all they're unbelievable! But of course, there have been realistic exceptions such as Dr Eleanor Arroway in 'Contact.' 'Hidden Figures' portrayed the true story of female African-American mathematicians at NASA.
The pioneer women
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is the first woman to have flown in space, and she piloted Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She completed 48 orbits of the Earth.
Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya flew aboard Soyuz T-7 in 1982, becoming the second woman in space. On her 1984 mission she became the first woman to fly to space twice, and the first woman to spacewalk.
Sally Kristen Ride was a physicist and astronaut. She became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride was the third woman in space.
Indian women in space
Kalpana Chawla: Her first space mission began in 1997. She is the first Indian-born woman to fly in space. In 2003, she died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Sunita Williams: She was on the International Space Station in Expedition 14 and Expedition 15.
In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33.
Dr Sujata Deshpande Khagol Mandal
'Many women are involved in astronomy. It's not a tough career choice. Just that you need Math and Physics for the field and few girls take them.'
Dr Bhaswati Mookerjea TIFR
'Observational Astronomy is like an adventure sport. I would urge girls to study Math and Physics and turn their fascination into a very rewarding profession.'
On June 16 this year Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space
On November 19 this year Kalpana Chawla’s first space mission began
Total number of days American astronaut Peggy Whitson spent in space
No. of orbits of the earth by Whitson on her most recent mission
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