Expedition 50/51 International Team of Astronauts complete successful launch to the International Space Station.
Thursday, November 17, 2016 is a great day in international history. It also marks an important and historic day at Iowa Wesleyan University. Commander Peggy Whitson ’81, and her crew Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, and Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency are headed to complete Expedition 50/51. This marks Commander Whitson’s third mission aboard and her second in command. They will be in space for six months.
Iowa Wesleyan hosted a Launch Viewing Party in the International Room of the Chadwick Library and the public was invited to attend as we live streamed this historic launch from Russia. As the count down began and the rocket launched, the room exploded in cheers and celebration for one of our own.
The crew will contribute to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only microgravity laboratory. While aboard the space station they will work with stem cell research and other experiments that will have a positive impact.
Dr. Peggy Whitson graduated from Iowa Wesleyan in 1981 with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry, Whitson 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.
Dr. Whitson is an Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee and 2011 Russian Medal of Merit for Space recipient. Whitson’s accomplishments have earned innumerable awards and honors, immeasurable respect, and more than a few entries in the annals of history.
Dr. Whitson is 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 this post. Whitson 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.
Dr. Whitson is mindful of her deep dedication to inspiring others and encouraging them to follow their dreams. Somehow, she always finds the time to share her amazing journey through her Twitter feed @AstroPeggy, Facebook @NASAastronautPeggyWhitson as well as Tumblr. We invite you to follow her amazing journey on her Facebook page, at www.iw.edu and on NASA’s feed http://www.space.com/17933-nasa-television-webcasts-live-space-tv.html.
Expedition 50/51 launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Expedition 50/51 crew members Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (left), Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos, center) and Peggy Whitson of NASA (right).
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