Koch returned to Earth safely on February 6 after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station
US President Donald Trump has congratulated NASA astronaut Christina Koch on breaking the female record for the longest stay in space.
Koch returned to Earth safely on February 6 after shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts with a stay of almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station. She touched down at 0912 GMT on the Kazakh steppe after 328 days in space, along with Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency.
After Koch landed on Earth, Trump took to Twitter and welcomed her on the planet. The US president congratulated for her achievement. Trump further said that she was inspiring young women and making the country proud.
Welcome back to Earth, @Astro_Christina, and congratulations on breaking the female record for the longest stay in space! You’re inspiring young women and making the USA proud! Enjoyed speaking with you and @Astro_Jessica on the first all-female spacewalk IN HISTORY last year.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
On December 28, Koch beat the previous record for a single spaceflight by a woman of 289 days, set by NASA veteran Peggy Whitson in 2016-17.
The 41-year-old Michigan-born engineer called three-time flyer Whitson, now 60, "a heroine of mine" and a "mentor" in the space programme after she had surpassed the record.
She spoke of her desire to "inspire the next generation of explorers".
Koch also made history as one half of the first-ever all-woman spacewalk along with NASA counterpart Jessica Meir, her classmate from NASA training.
The spacewalk was initially postponed because the space station did not have two suits of the right size for women, leading to allegations of sexism.
What will I miss? The exquisite beauty of both the planet Earth and this marvel that its amazing people created. pic.twitter.com/VWIFXuJMTp— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) February 5, 2020
Ahead of the three-and-a-half hour journey back to Earth, Koch told NBC on February 4 that she would "miss microgravity".
"It's really fun to be in a place where you can just bounce around between the ceiling and the floor whenever you want," she said, smiling as she twisted her body around the ISS.
Koch's medical data will be especially valuable to NASA scientists as the agency draws up plans for a long-duration manned mission to Mars.(With PTI inputs)
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