SPACE: The 41-year-old astronaut, Christina Koch spent 328 days on the International Space Station
“Happy” to return to Earth, the American astronaut Christina Koch landed this Thursday in the Kazakh steppes, after having spent almost a year onboard the International Space Station (ISS). She now holds the record for time spent in space.
VIDEO: NASA’s Christina Koch returns to Earth safely after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station pic.twitter.com/49WvIRY5Zj
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 6, 2020
The Soyuz capsule, with onboard Christina Koch and her colleagues, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and the Russian cosmonaut Alexandre Skvortsov, landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, at 9:12 GMT, after ” a flight of about three and a half hours. “I feel so upset and happy,” said Christina Koch, all smiles, after being extracted from the capsule and installed on a chair.
Fists and an apple
Luca Parmitano raised his fists in the air while Alexander Skvortsov ate an apple after landing, according to a video released by the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos). Residents of the Kazakh steppes, mounted on horseback, attended the landing in the snow, causing the amazement of Nasa commentator Rob Navias: “I have never seen that,” he exclaimed, saying that the riders had stopped to chat with the technical staff.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, 41, stayed on the ISS 328 days, or some 11 months, breaking the previous record set by Peggy Whitson, the space veteran. On December 28th, Christina Koch spent her 289th day in space, while her compatriot only stayed there for 288 days. This American engineer has already put her name in history by participating in the first 100% female spacewalk, which she carried out in October 2019 with Jessica Meir, a marine biologist.
A battery of medical tests
Christina Koch, interviewed by the press on Tuesday, two days before returning to Earth, told the NBC that she was going to miss “microgravity” the most. “It’s really funny to be in a place where you can jump from the floor to ceiling when you want,” she said, smiling.
Christina Koch will now travel to NASA headquarters in Houston, via the Kazakh city of Karaganda and Cologne, Germany, to undergo medical tests, the results of which could be invaluable in preparing for a long-lived manned flight to Mars. If she broke the record for Peggy Whitson, 59, who flew three space missions, she still remains her “heroine” and “mentor,” says Christina Koch. She also dreams of “inspiring the next generation of explorers “.
Unlike Christina Koch, whose stay at the ISS has been extended beyond the initial deadlines, Luca Parmitano and Alexandre Skvortsov complete standard missions of six months. Only four Russian cosmonauts spent a year or more in space on a single mission, the all-time record of 437 days being held by Valery Poliakov. Among NASA astronauts, the record goes to Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days in a row on the ISS before returning to Earth in 2016.