The first Iowa woman in space is back in the U.S. after a wild return to earth in Russia aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Beaconsfield native, Peggy Whitson, spoke with reporters this morning from Houston, Texas.
Whitson and others in the ship felt g-forces at eight-point-two times the force of gravity, which she says made it tough to breathe.
The landing was rougher than normal because of the trajectory of the re-entry into the atmosphere, but even with what she went through, Whitson says she still has confidence in the Russian space program. Whitson says the “ballistic re-entry” is something they practiced prior to launch and they need to understand what caused that type of landing. Whitson says that type of re-entry is not unsafe just stressful after being in zero gravity for so long.
Whitson says she was able to take some items from back home with her including a banner from Mount Ayr High School. Whitson says several of the local schools sent banners and she took them to the Space Station with her. While the latest landing was not perfect, Whitson says she’d like to go back into space again.
“I might want to take a vacation first, but after that –yeah,” Whitson says. To date Whitson has accumulated 377 days in space which is a record among U.S. astronauts and has performed six spacewalks for a total of 39 hours and 46 minutes more then any woman astronaut.