NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth last February 6 after spending an overwhelming 328 days in space. This 11-month stay sets the record for the longest single spaceflight in zero gravity by a woman and makes it the second-longest single spaceflight overall.
Koch made it back to Earth with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency). They departed from the International Space Station to make a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan.
During her record-breaking stay in space, Koch was able to complete 5,248 orbits of the Earth and a journey of 139 million miles — which is the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She participated in 6 spacewalks, 3 of which were the first all-woman spacewalks. For those spacewalks, she spent a total of 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station.
What will I miss? The exquisite beauty of both the planet Earth and this marvel that its amazing people created. pic.twitter.com/VWIFXuJMTp
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) February 5, 2020
The notable length of her stay has immense impacts on NASA’s future plans and ambitions.
According to the space agency, Koch’s “extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans to return humans to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars.”
Another gift that Koch’s 328 days in space has given humanity? Her breathtaking documentation of her time in space. Check out her official Twitter to see what life from above is like:
Keeping watch on the volatile Taal Volcano in the Philippines from the @Space_Station. Just south of Manila, it stands out ash-covered and otherworldly in the middle of Taal Lake against the surrounding green highlands. pic.twitter.com/SY8NuuWOX4
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) January 22, 2020
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