Koch Back on Earth After Record Setting 328-Day Spaceflight

Koch Back on Earth After Record Setting 328-Day Spaceflight

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is back on Earth after a record-setting 328 days in space, the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman.  She and her Soyuz MS-13 crewmates, Russia’s Alexander Skvortsov and ESA’s Luca Parmitano, landed on time at 4:12 am EST on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Koch launched into space aboard Soyuz MS-12 on March 14, 2019 with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin expecting to return with them in October.  Her mission was extended, however, so she came back today with Skvortsov and Parmitano, who arrived at ISS on July 20 in Soyuz MS-13.  They added 201 days to their cumulative time in space.  This was Skvortsov’s third spaceflight and Parmitano’s second.  Parmitano set his own records for European astronauts — longest total time in space (367 days) and longest total time on spacewalks (33 hours 8 minutes).

All three looked really happy as they were helped out of the Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch being helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 capsule after her 328-day spaceflight. February 6, 2020. Credit: NASA TV

For this, her first spaceflight, Koch made 5,246 orbits of the Earth over those 328 days and conducted six spacewalks.  Three of those were with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, the first all-female spacewalks.

Meir remains on ISS with NASA astronaut Drew Morgan and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka.  They will be replaced by two Russians (Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin) and one American (Chris Cassidy) who are scheduled to launch on April 9.

Koch’s 328-day continuous time in space is a record for any woman. Only one American, Scott Kelly, has stayed longer — 340 days.  The record for the longest continuous spaceflight ever is 438 days set by Russia’s Valeriy Polyakhov on the Mir space station in 1994-1995.

Peggy Whitson previously held the record for longest continuous spaceflight by a woman (288 days) and she still holds the record for cumulative time in space for a woman (665 days over three spaceflights).  Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the world record for longest cumulative time in space — 879 days over five missions.


This article has been updated.

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