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After 288 days in space, Peggy set to return to Earth

After 288 days in space, Peggy set to return to Earth

United States astronaut Peggy Whitson has returned to Earth after a record-breaking mission.

Although Whitson holds the US record for total time in space, seven Russians have put in more time - including Yurchikhin, who is now No. 7 on the list with 673 days under his belt.

A Soyuz capsule carrying her and two other International Space Station crew members has safely landed on time in Kazakhstan, according to NASA.

Expedition 48-49 backup crew member Peggy Whitson of NASA poses for a photograph as the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, July 4, 2016.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female. She is the only woman astronaut to command ISS twice.

Whitson will have logged 665 days in space over three separate missions, the equivalent of about one year and 10 months outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Her two Soyuz MS-03 crewmates - Oleg Novitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet - returned to Earth as planned on June 2 with one empty seat, leaving Whitson behind aboard the station with Yurchikhin and Fischer. The men flew up in April. "For example, in order to keep mission control running, the team (three shifts of a skeleton support crew) were sleeping on cots in the backup mission control rooms". "There are many investigations on the human body that we've been doing up here in orbit, so we'll have to continue those studies as well during that first 45 days", Whitson said during an in-flight interview with Space.com. During her expeditions, she continually asked for more scientific research to do.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla - NASA all-time space champ Peggy Whitson is back on Earth after a record-breaking flight.

Footage of the second separation burn that propelled the MS-04 away from the ISS was also taken aboard the space station. She even experimented on food up there, trying to add some pizazz to the standard freeze-dried meals. "They will be poised in Karaganda to await the arrival of Whitson and Fischer".

They will be joined by two NASA astronauts and a Russian, Aleksandr Misurkin, following a scheduled September 12 liftoff from Kazakhstan.

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