Astronaut Peggy Whitson was the keynote speaker today during the launch of the on-line “Transportation Heroes” exhibit for the Iowa Transportation Museum to be built in Grinnell.
Whitson is from Beaconsfield and has spent 377 days in space during two missions — the most for any American astronaut. Whitson has performed six spacewalks, and says that’s the best part of being in space.
Whitson says seeing the earth without the constraints of being in another vehicle is “very impressive” and she uses the analogy of having lived in a semi-dark room all your life and someone turns on the light to describe what it’s like walking in space. Whitson’s last mission to space ended in April of last year, and she doesn’t anticipate getting back to space anytime soon.
Whitson says it takes two to four years to train for a mission, and she has only been back home for about a year, so she says she will stay on earth for a bit more. Whitson says she supports plans for manned flights to the moon and beyond. “I think that’s the right direction for us to be going..and we need to be exploring and developing our technology to do that, and I think that will make us stronger in a lot of ways,” Whitson says. Whitson was one of three “Heroes of Valor” selected for the museum’s Heroes Center.
Whitson says it is great if the center can be an inspiration for young people to make them decide the can do something they’ve dreamed about. There were five Heroes of Industry and Technology inducted, and 13 Heroes by Example. The Iowa Transportation Museum will be built in the restored Spaulding plant in Grinnell. The Spaulding plant produced up to 10,000 carriages and wagons a year starting in 1876, and built cars from 1909 to 1916.
Find out more by going to the Iowa Transportation Museum website .