Texas Astronaut Sets Record For Most Days In Space

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 25, 2017 11:00 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Yesterday, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson reached a major milestone. The Rice University alum broke the American record for the most cumulative days spent in space – surpassing 534 days. That earned Dr. Whitson a congratulatory phone call from President Donald Trump.

To get a better sense of Whitson’s achievement, we called up another Houston Astronaut.

“My name is Sunita Williams, but people call me Suni,” she says. “I am a captain in the United States Navy and I’m an astronaut and I work here at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.” 

Like Whitson, Williams has also spent time working on the International Space Station.

“Both of us flew our first flights while we were in the middle of the construction of the space station so both of us were ‘construction workers’ in space,” Williams says. “And the second times around both of us did a lot of science up in space and she’s on her third time so it’s pretty great.”

Williams explains what it’s like to actually live on the International Space Station:

“It’s awesome to live there. Of course the first time you go, you’re a little bit clumsy, it’s hard to figure out how to fly and move around in space without hitting your head, and understanding that you don’t have gravity to help you out,” she says. “Like losing things is pretty prominent when you first get up there because you need to have things tethered or connected to you – it’s funny to watch people lose things – like I lost my spoon – but I’ve lived up there – my longest flight was a 195 days, and before long, you really get used to it.”

And with Peggy Whitson spending over 500 days in space, we had to know – is there such a thing as too much time up there?

“Ya know honestly space is addicting. It’s really awesome to be up there,” she says. “And you know you’re not going to live there forever so most people are going to want to go back again because it’s just awesome.” 

While Whitson now holds the American record for most days in space – the global record belongs to a Russian cosmonaut who spent almost 900 days there.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says it plans to sue the federal Food and Drug Administration over the FDA’s decision to block Texas from importing an execution drug. The FDA last week said Texas may not import 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental from a manufacturer in India.

The FDA says the drug is mislabeled and unapproved. Texas officials say the FDA’s decision is flawed.

The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a measure that would let people who win a-million-dollars or more in the state lottery remain anonymous. The Texas Tribune reports that currently, the Texas Lottery Commission is required to release the names of prize winners, the city where they live, and winnings to the public.

The bill just needs final approval from the House and then it can be sent to the state Senate.