Christina Koch: new record for women on space

Koch holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman; she is expected to return to Earth in February 2020, spending over 300 days.

Christina Koch

Christina Koch / Photo: NASA

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: Christina Koch: nuevo récord para mujeres en el espacio

This past week, a few days before New Year's, the astronaut Christina Koch established a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. On Saturday, December 28th, she marked her 289th day on space, beating retired astronaut Peggy Whitson, who previously held the record.

"Records are made to be broken. It is a sign of progress!", tweeted Whitson on the weekend.

As read on UPI, Koch's flight is part of a research that is trying to understand how the human body responds to a long time in microgravity and how to protect it against ill effects as a way to prepare for future missions to the moon and Mars.

"It's a wonderful thing for science. We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by long-term microgravity, and that is something really important for the advancement of our future mission to the Moon and Mars," said Koch in an interview with CNN from the International Space Station.

"Do what scares you. Everyone should think about what intrigues and appeals to them. Those things can be a little scary at first, but they usually mean that you are interested” she added.

Christina Koch graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Physics and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.

In a press release issued by NASA, Koch also talked about how this has been a dream come true for her. "It feels awesome. It's truly a dream come true to know that I can continue to work on the program that I valued so highly my whole life."

Also read: Science's 2019 breakthrough of the year: the first image of a black hole

As read on CNBC, this is the second record Koch has achieved this year. On October 18, Koch and Jessica Meir conducted the first official all-female spacewalk in which they went outside of the International Space Station to replace a battery.

According to Science Times, Koch's journey to the ISS started with her work in the agency as an electrical engineer at the Laboratory for High-Energy Astrophysics at the Goddard Space Flight, where she contributed to the development of scientific instruments and several missions.

By 2015 she completed her astronaut training, which included spacewalks, psychological training, robotics, scientific and technical briefings, among others, and she started her first space flight mission last year.

Koch has also spoken about the progress in the industry when it comes to gender equality.

“In the past, women haven’t always been at the table, and it’s wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted when everyone has a role, and that can lead in turn to an increased chance for success”, said Koch to NPR.

According to NASA, Koch is expected to return to Earth in February 2020 and by that time she will have spent more than 300 days in space.

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