The S.S. John Glenn, Orbital ATK's seventh Cygnus cargo ship to deliver supplies and science for the crew on board the International Space Station, completed a four-day rendezvous to the orbiting laboratory on Saturday morning (April 21).
Peggy Whitson still commands the Expedition 51 crew of the space station which includes astronauts like Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy.
Launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday (April 18), the S.S. John Glenn could have arrived at the space station earlier, but held off its approach (referred to by NASA as "station-keeping") to allow Russia's Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft to dock with crewmembers Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian federal space corporation Roscosmos on Thursday. On April 6, John Glenn was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. His widow, Annie, granted permission for Orbital ATK to use his name for the spacecraft. The company, in fact, sent up some memorabilia for the Glenn family.
Glenn made history in 1962 when he soared into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his one-man Mercury capsule. In addition to his distinction as first American to orbit the Earth, Glenn would later go on to return to space at age 77, becoming the oldest person to ever enter orbit.
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He did not say that Britain should act unilaterally as suggested by some United Kingdom political parties. He said: "She has treated any questioning of what she is doing as frustration - I think that's wrong".
NASA says Whitson on Monday will officially set the USA record for most cumulative days in space, surpassing astronaut Jeff Williams' record of 534 days. She is now the Commander of the ISS crew, making her the first woman to command the space station twice (she also headed the mission during her second six-month stay in 2007-2008).
"John Glenn was probably responsible for more students studying math and science and being interested in space than anyone", said former astronaut Brian Duffy, Orbital ATK's vice president of Exploration Systems. Early Monday, she will surpass the 534-day, two-hour-and-change mark set by astronaut Jeffrey Williams previous year.
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