Christina Koch Returns to Earth After Breaking Spaceflight Record
by Lily Katzman/Smithsonianmag.com
The International Space Station astronaut Christina Koch could watch the sunrise and set on Earth 16 times per day on all 328 days of her mission. Now, having completed the longest spaceflight ever achieved by a woman, Koch has returned to Earth where she can view the sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening from the comfort of her home in Galveston, Texas.
“Oh, how I miss the wind on my face, the feeling of raindrops, sand on my feet and the sound of the surf crashing on the Galveston beach,” Koch said in anticipation of her arrival. “We take daily sensory inputs for granted until they are absent … I cannot wait to feel and hear Earth again.”
Koch surpassed American astronaut Peggy Whitson’s previous record of 288 days of spaceflight and was just 12 days shy of Scott Kelly’s all-time record of 340 days in space. Koch’s mission will give researchers a new look into the long-term effects of spaceflight on women, as NASA prepares to land the first woman on the moon and plans human exploration missions to Mars.
Koch returned to Earth with two other astronauts in Russia’s Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on February 6 around 12:50 a.m. local time…