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Trump congratulates NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson

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NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson center floats inside the Quest airlock of the International Space Station with Thomas Pesquet left and Shane Kimbrough before their spacewalk. Early Monday April

She is now on a mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and by the time she comes back down to Earth, she will have logged in a total of 650 days in space. She made her first trip into orbit in 2002, after two decades of work with the space agency on the ground.

Moreover, US President Donald Trump call from the International Space Station was accompanied by Ivanka Trump who set behind his side and Dr. Kate Rubins.

Almost 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days.

"Well it's actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it's an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible", Whitson told the President.

Jack Fischer, the second astronaut speaking from the space station, seemed just as impressed with his trip, noting that he had been drinking a "floaty ball-form coffee" the morning before.

"534 days in space - that's an incredible record to break, and on behalf of our country and on behalf of the world we would like to congratulate you".

Earlier, when Trump asked Whitson, "What are we learning by being in space?" the astronaut replied by discussing studies about the human body's reaction to living in microgravity and how to support life during a multiyear Mars mission. Upon her return in September, she would have logged 666 days in space - over the course of three missions. "I want all the young people out there to recognize that the real steps [to getting to Mars] are going to be taken in a few years", she said.

"We also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable, and it's really not as bad as it sounds", she said, eliciting a smirk from Trump.

After earning a doctorate in biochemistry in 1985, Whitson worked as a Nasa scientist for seven years before starting as an astronaut in 1997.

"So, unfortunately space flight takes a lot of time and money so getting there will require some global cooperation to get the - it to be a planet-wide approach in order to make it successful just because it is a very expensive endeavor".

Back here on Earth, she's influencing young students in her home state of Iowa.

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