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In this Jan. 13, 2017 photo made available by 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. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, NASA announced that Whitson will remain on the ISS until September 2017, adding three months to her original mission. (NASA via AP)
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Veteran NASA spacewoman getting 3 extra months in orbit

In this Jan. 13, 2017 photo made available by 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. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, NASA announced that Whitson will remain on the ISS until September 2017, adding three months to her original mission. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world’s oldest and most experienced spacewoman is getting three extra months in orbit.

NASA announced Wednesday that astronaut Peggy Whitson will remain on the International Space Station until September. The 57-year-old astronaut arrived last November and was supposed to return to Earth in June. But under an agreement between NASA and the Russian Space Agency, she’ll stay another three months and take advantage of an empty seat on a Soyuz capsule in the fall.

The two men she flew up with in November will return in June without her.

This mission — her third — will now last close to 10 months. Scientists are eager to monitor any changes to her body, to add to the knowledge gained from retired astronaut Scott Kelly’s recent one-year flight.

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