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Astronaut Peggy Whitson sets American record for cumulative time spent in space

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2016 file-pool photo, U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), gestures from a bus prior the launch of Soyuz MS-3 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. President Donald Trump will speak next week to the commander of the orbiting International Space Station. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the call with astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will take place on April 24. On that date, Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station, will have spent 535 days in space, the most time spent in space of any American astronaut. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool, File)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson now holds the U.S. record for cumulative time spent in space!

The new record is 534 days, 2 hours, 49 minutes and was set at 10:27 p.m. Arizona time on Sunday. Whitson will build on that record until September, when she is scheduled to return from the International Space Station.

At that point, Whitson — who became the first woman to command a space station in 2008 — will have been in space about 650 days.

The previous record for an American in space, was that 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes, set by astronaut Jeff Williams.

If that seems like a long time, the all-time record for a human in space goes to Russian cosmonaut, Col. Gennady Padalka, who has nearly 879 days in orbit!

He may return to space in September 2018 and have the opportunity to increase his previous record to well over 1,000 days.

You can follow the current ISS mission online.

Better yet, you can actually see the ISS as it passes over Arizona. It is very bright and easy to view with the naked eye.

April skies offer something for everyone! Get you very own Dr. Sky April star chart.

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