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Tearful Whitson transfers ISS command in 'bittersweet' handover

Thursday, June 01, 2017 - 01:44

During an emotional ceremony aboard the orbiting outpost, NASA'S Expedition 51 commander Peggy Whitson handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: NASA astronaut and Expedition 51 commander Peggy Whitson handed over command of the International Space Station to Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin on Thursday (June 1). Expedition 52 officially starts after Expedition 51 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) leave the space station on Friday morning (June 1). Whitson will stay back to work on Expedition 52 before returning to Earth in September. During an emotional ceremony aboard the orbiting outpost, Whitson - the most experienced U.S. astronaut in terms of time spent in space- recounted the accomplishments of Expedition 51, often tearing up as she spoke about her time on the space station. By the time Whitson returns to Earth on Sept. 3, she will have racked up a career total 666 days in orbit - a record for an American astronaut. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, with 878 days in orbit, is the world's most experienced space flier. Whitson is the first two-time female commander of the International Space Station. She already held the record for the most time spent spacewalking by a woman.

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Tearful Whitson transfers ISS command in 'bittersweet' handover

Thursday, June 01, 2017 - 01:44