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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

Iowa Wesleyan grad to make third mission into space

Nov 14, 2016
Photo by: Submitted In Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 50/51 crew members (left to right) Thomas Pesquet, of the European Space Agency; Oleg Novitskiy, of the Russian Federal Space Agency; and Peggy Whitson, of NASA.

Iowa Wesleyan University graduate Dr. Peggy Whitson will be making her third mission into space with a Thursday, Nov. 17, launch to the International Space Station.

IWU will be hosting a launch viewing party in the International Room of the Chadwick Library, beginning at 1:30 p.m. with the launch scheduled at 2:20 p.m., central standard time. The launch will be live streamed from Russia with Whitson serving as commander of the three-member crew.

The community is invited to attend the event as Whitson makes history. If you are unable to attend the event on campus, you may stream the launch at the following url:

Whitson graduated from IWU in 1981 with a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry. She went on to earn her doctorate in biochemistry from Rice University in 1985. She then continued her studies and started her career with Johnson Space Center and NASA.

She is an Aviation Hall of Fame inductee and 2011 Russian Medal of Merit for Space recipient. Her accomplishments have earned innumerable honors, immeasurable respect and more than a few entries into the annals of history.

Whitson will become the first woman to command the space station twice. Her first tenure as commander was in 2007, when she became the first woman to hold the post. She has an advanced degree in biochemistry, and prior to her selection as an astronaut candidate in 1996, she served in prominent medical science research and supervisory positions at NASA.

While at the space station, the crew will contribute to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only microgravity laboratory. The crew is scheduled to return to Earth next spring.

Whitson will share her space journey through her Twitter feed — @Astro Peggy; Facebook — @NASAastronautPeggyWhitson; as well as Tumblr.

Expedition 50/51 will launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Crew members in addition to Whitson include Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, and Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos.


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