Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Astronaut Peggy Whitson is home safe after spending a record 288 days on the International Space Station.
Whitson touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT on Saturday aboard a Soyuz capsule. Whitson was joined for the trip home by NASA colleague Jack Fischer and cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikin of Roscosmos.
Whitson's 288-day mission is the record for most consecutive days spent in space by an American. She has now spent a cumulative of 665 days in space, also a record for U.S. astronauts.
While aboard ISS, Whitson executed four spacewalks. Her career 10 spacewalks mark another U.S. record. Across three space station missions, Whitson has spent 60 hours and 21 minutes outside ISS.
The most experienced astronaut in history said she's excited to eat pizza and use flushable toilets now that she's back on Earth. But Whitson said she will miss life on the space station.
"I will miss being the hands of so many investigators, exploring new avenues in research that can't be accomplished on Earth," she told NASA in an interview.
Once back in Houston, both Whitson and Fischer will undergo a variety of health tests to help NASA scientists better understand the physiological effects of spending months at a time in microgravity. NASA researchers are working hard to anticipate and address the health risks of future long-distance space missions.
Prior to the trio's trip back to Earth, Yurchikin transferred his title of "commander" to NASA's Randy Bresnik in a changing of the guard ceremony.
Bresnik and his Expedition 53 colleagues, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA, remain onboard. They'll be joined by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, as well as Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, on September 12.