US Astronaut Back to Earth After Longest Space Mission by a Woman
NASA's Christina Koch returned to Earth on Thursday, 6 February, at Almaty (Kazakhstan), shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts after almost a year aboard the International Space Station.
Koch touched down on the Kazakh steppe at 0912 GMT after 328 days in space along with Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, said the crew had returned safely.
Koch, a 41-year-old Michigan-born engineer, beat the previous record for a single spaceflight by a woman – 289 days, held by NASA veteran Peggy Whitson – on 28 December 2019.
She had already made history by that point as one half of the first-ever all-woman spacewalk along with NASA counterpart Jessica Meir in October.
Desire to ‘Inspire the Next Generation of Explorers’
Koch told NBC on Tuesday, 4 February 2020 that she would "miss microgravity" as she spoke to journalists ahead of the three-and-a-half-hour journey back to Earth.
Koch called three-time flyer Whitson "a heroine of mine" and a "mentor" in the space programme after she surpassed the 59-year-old's record. She also spoke of her desire to "inspire the next generation of explorers".
Koch’s Stay Aboard the ISS Was Extended
The advert featured NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and saw the company promise to donate up to $500,000 to the non-profit Women Who Code, which works with young women seeking careers in tech and scientific fields.
This year's Super Bowl was watched by over 100 million people while advert time costs more than $5 million for a 30-second commercial.
But the cosmonauts Russia has sent to the ISS since expeditions began in 2000 have all been men with the exception of Yelena Serova's launch in 2014.
Both Tereshkova and Serova are now lawmakers in the Russian parliament, where they represent the ruling United Russia party.
Unlike Koch, whose stay aboard the ISS was extended, Parmitano and Skvortsov are rounding off regular six-month missions.
Four Male Cosmonauts Have Spent a Year or Longer in Space
Parmitano handed over command of the ISS to Roscosmos' Oleg Skripochka on Tuesday, 4 February 2020.
Four male cosmonauts have spent a year or longer in space as part of a single mission with Valery Polyakov's 437 days, the overall record.
Scott Kelly holds the record for a NASA astronaut, posting 340 days at the ISS before he returned home in 2016.
(Published in an arrangement with PTI)
(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)