Space station receives oldest female astronaut, bit of Mars

Posted at 1:23 PM, Nov 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 13:23:30-05

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station has gained three new residents, including the oldest and most experienced woman to orbit the world.

A bit of Mars has also arrived, courtesy of a Frenchman who brought along a small piece of a Mars meteorite.

Launched Thursday from Kazakhstan, the Russian Soyuz capsule docked at the 250-mile-high outpost as NASA got set to launch a weather satellite from Florida. The Soyuz delivered NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. They joined three men already on board.

Whitson, who’s 56, already holds the record for the most time in space for a woman: nearly 400 days during her various missions. By the time she returns next spring, she should break the record for any American, man or woman.