NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Ph.D., was just 9 years old “when the first guys walked on the moon”, but it wasn’t until she graduated high school, when NASA selected its first female astronauts, that becoming an astronaut became a goal of hers.

“Of course Sally Ride was influential in developing my image of what a female astronaut was,” Peggy notes. “It became much more motivating to see that there were women there, that women could do this job.”

Peggy started her Astronaut training in 1996 and has since spent the last 20 years building an insanely impressive résumé that includes a number of pioneering firsts. She was the first female commander of the International Space Station in 2007, has taken the most spacewalks by a woman, is the oldest woman spacewalker, holds the record for the most cumulative days in space, and was also the first female, nonmilitary Chief of the Astronaut Office.

In this interview with MAKERS, Peggy shares her “inspiring story and unshakeable persistence to realize her dream of becoming a NASA Astronaut.”

If she can see it, she can be it!