expedition 52
NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer returned to Earth with Roscosmos astronaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. NASA

After spending a record-breaking 288 days on the International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson returned to Earth with her NASA colleague Jack Fischer and Roscosmos Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin. The three landed Sunday in Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-04 pod after traveling from the ISS.

Whitson and Fischer returned to Houston, Texas, on Monday, said a tweet from NASA. Last week Hurricane Harvey was dropping feet of water on Texas and mission control at Johnson Space Center was running with a skeleton crew of only essential employees. The hurricane was also responsible for the cancellation of Whitson’s final in-flight news conference from the station.

Whitson’s mission was extended by three months in April, which helped her continue her streak of breaking NASA records. She currently holds the record for the most spacewalks conducted by a female NASA astronaut. She was also the first science commander of the station, the first female commander of the ISS and the first female to command it twice. With the end of Expedition 52, she holds the record for the most time in space by a NASA astronaut.

However, she’s not totally comfortable with the praise she receives for all of the records she’s broken, she said in an interview with Marcia Dunn of the Associated Press.

“I feel lucky to have been in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that I have had, and yet I do acknowledge that my dedication and work ethic helped put me in those positions,” Whitson emailed in response to Dunn’s questions. “Recognizing all that, it is still difficult for me to come to grips with the fact that I have the potential to be a role model. I am working on paying forward some of the advice and mentoring that I received on my journey, in hopes that one day those young people will do the same, and look back on a life in which they leapt at the opportunities and broke their own records.”

The full interview in which Whitson reflects on her time on the station is available on NASA’s website.

While on board the ISS, Whitson and Fischer conducted a number of experiments to explore how time spent in space can change an astronaut’s eyes. Other experiments included microgravity stem cell research, antibody investigations for furthering cancer treatments and plant growth in space, according to NASA.

The mission was one of firsts for Fischer too. It was his first mission to the station during which he completed his first and second spacewalks ever while on board. During his roughly six months on board, he gained popularity on Twitter for tweeting from space and connecting with NASA fans through social media, like this video tour of the station he gave.

There are the astronauts still on the station as part of Expedition 53. Randy Bresnik of NASA, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli from the European Space Agency will hold down the fort until three more astronauts arrive on Sept. 12.