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President Trump To Call NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson In Space This Monday

20 April 2017, 7:16 am EDT By Alexandra Lozovschi Tech Times
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Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson, pictured here aboard the ISS in a December 2016 photo, will be chatting live with President Trump on April 24. Find out what the videoconference with the NASA astronaut will be all about.  ( NASA )

The White House announced President Donald Trump will be making a special videoconference with NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson on Monday, to "personally congratulate" her as she is about to break yet another record.

The date, April 24, marks the astronaut's record-breaking stay aboard the International Space Station.

For this momentous occasion, Trump will be joined in the Oval Office by First Daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as NASA astronaut Kate Rubins.

Also participating in the Earth-to-space call will be NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who arrived at the orbiting laboratory on April 20.

According to a White House press release, the U.S. president wishes to convey the two astronauts his gratitude "for their service to our country in the cause of exploration and discovery."

Expedition 51 Commander's Impressive Achievements

Peggy Whitson is on a record-breaking track. After reaching the record for most spacewalks by a woman, the NASA astronaut is about to beat the all-time record for most days spent in space.

"Commander of the station's Expedition 51 crew, Whitson will officially set the U.S. record Monday for most cumulative days in space, surpassing NASA astronaut Jeff Williams' record of 534 days," state NASA officials in a news release.

The highly experienced spacewoman went to the ISS in November 2016 and was due to journey back to Earth this summer. However, her stay aboard the space station was prolonged through a new agreement with Roscosmos, the Russian agency in partnership with NASA.

As per the new collaboration terms, Whitson was designated to spend three extra months in space in order to ensure the full six-member crew for the upcoming Expedition 52.

On April 9, Peggy Whitson assumed command of the ISS as leader of Expedition 51. This is the second time Whitson is in charge of an ISS mission, after successfully leading Expedition 16 as the first female astronaut to ever take command of the space station.

Whitson also served as NASA's first female chief astronaut and has performed eight spacewalks during her career. Last month, Tech Times reported the live streaming of three spacewalks, two of them involving the seasoned astronaut — at the time serving as Flight Engineer for Expedition 50.

Where To Watch The Video Call With Peggy Whitson

The video call with the president is expected to last for 20 minutes and will be broadcast for the public on both White House and NASA online platforms.

The space agency confirmed it will be airing the conference on its website and Facebook page. Whitson will be sharing her experience on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Fischer, who is set to arrive at the ISS on April 20 for his first space mission, will also be documenting the event on his social media accounts.

The White House states this call "promises to be a fascinating conversation" and will include topics such as "life aboard the ISS, NASA's mission, and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education."

The video footage will also "be made available to schools, museums, and other organizations across the nation and globally," says NASA, adding that the agency and the Department of Education are encouraging students across the United States to tune in to the historic event.

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