NASA astronaut Christina Koch just returned home after spending 11 months in space. Her tour aboard the International Space Station ended on Thursday when a spacecraft carrying her and two colleagues touched down at at 4:12 a.m. Eastern time.
Christina looked incredibly happy as she emerged from the aircraft, smiling excitedly.
Christina set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at 328 days. Christina’s stay in space broke a record that had been set by Peggy Whitson in 2017. She had spent 288 days in space on a single mission and still holds the record for the total days in space by any NASA astronaut at 665 days.
NASA celebrated Christina’s incredible feat, along with other recent achievements by female astronauts.
“She definitely looks glad to be home,” NASA’s Brandi Dean said.
Christina still had some traveling left to do, though. She landed in the desert of Kazakhstan, about 7,000 miles from Houston. Christina is a Michigan native.
Christina has made many contributions to the space program in recent years and says she’s excited that the culture and even the language around woman in space is changing. For example, they no longer use the term “manned.” She told theWashington Post that she understands the significance of her trip, especially the spacewalk she took with colleague Jessica Meir.
“We caught each other’s eye and we knew that we were really honored with this opportunity to inspire so many,” she said in an interview published on NASA’s website. “Just hearing our voices talk to Mission Control, knowing two female voices had never been on the [communication] loops, solving those problems outside — it was really a special feeling.”
For more on Christina’s return home, watch the video.
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