Peggy Whitson joined NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 1986 at the age of 26, as a National Research Council Resident Research Associate, working initially on biochemistry research. By April 1996, she had impressed her superiors and named her an astronaut candidate, commencing training in August of that year.
It wasn’t until 5 June 2002 that she was to achieve her first spaceflight. That day she set for the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Expedition 5 crew. Among her duties, Peggy carried out scientific experiments and performed her first spacewalk, which lasted 4 hr 25 min. Altogether, she was to spend 184 days 22 hr 14 min in space during her inaugural trip.