NASA's Williams passes Scott Kelly's U.S. space record

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Scott Kelly is widely known as the Ironman of U.S. astronauts after his recent yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station, during which he set a NASA record for most cumulative days in space with 520 over four flights.

But as of Wednesday, that career record belongs not to Kelly but Jeff Williams, an unassuming NASA veteran who doesn't mind if his six-month tour lacks the promotion and buzz of Kelly's "#YearInSpace."

The commander of the station’s six-person Expedition 48 crew marked his 521st day in space Wednesday, a total expected to reach 534 days by the time he returns to Earth on Sept. 6 to conclude his fourth spaceflight.

On Wednesday, Kelly called Williams to congratulate him on his achievement.

"I wanted to congratulate you on passing me up here in total number of days in space," said Kelly. "It's great to see another record broken. ... But I do have one question for you. And my question is: You got another 190 days in you?"

.@StationCDRKelly congratulates @Astro_Jeff on breaking his record of 520 total days in space by a U.S. astronaut! https://t.co/y9BxzUWtgH

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) August 24, 2016

Williams said, "That question's not for me, that's for my wife."

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