NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Koch returned to Earth after logging 328 days in space — the longest spaceflight in history by a woman — as a member of Expeditions 59-60-61 on the International Space Station. Skvortsov and Parmitano returned after 201 days in space where they served as Expedition 60-61 crew members onboard the station. {image via NASA/Bill Ingalls}

Astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth after setting a record for 328 days in space, the longest spaceflight by a human female. Scott Kelly holds the record for an American astronaut at 340 days in space.  Koch holds the second place record for an American in space. Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov holds the overall record for any human in space at 437 days, 18 hours in space at a single stay, aboard the Mir space station.

The Russian Soyuz MS-13 space capsule returned to Kazakhstan on February 6, 2020.

Biological data from Ms. Koch’s space mission will be used to help NASA prepare long-term missions including the return to the Moon under the Artemis program, and the controversial Space Force, as well as an eventual manned Mars mission.

Photo Date: 11-7-2018 Location: Bldg 8 Photo Studio Subject: Astronaut Christina Koch Official EMU Portrait Photographer: Bill Stafford
{image via NASA/Bill Stafford}

NASA reported that Koch’s tour included 5,248 orbits of the Earth aboard the ISS, with a total distance traversed of 139 million miles in terms of how far the Space Station traveled during its orbit while she was on board. Koch also spent quite a bit of time outside the station, completing six spacewalks, including the record-setting first ever spacewalk involving all women with fellow astronaut Jessica Meir – and two more all-women spacewalks after that.

From Kazakhstan, Koch will proceed to Cologne, Germany, where she and her colleague Luca Parmitano will part ways. Colonel Parmitano, an Italian engineer, will report to the European Space Agency. Mrs. Koch will go on to Houston, Texas, where she will be reunited with her husband, Robert Koch.

Christina H. Koch has two bachelor’s degrees, one in physics and one in electrical engineering, and a master’s degree in engineering.


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