Conquering Space! NASA astronaut to set record for longest Spaceflight by a woman

NASA’s all women spacewalk is failed due to technical issues, but there is good news for space aspirant girls! NASA astronaut Christina Koch is going to have her mission on International Space Station (ISS) stretched to nearly 11 months, which would set a record for the longest spaceflight by a woman.

NASA and it’s International Space Station partners have set a new schedule and new crew assignments that will include the first flight of NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, an extended stay for NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, and a record-setting flight for NASA astronaut Christina Koch.

Koch, who arrived at the space station March 14, and now is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020, will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, eclipsing the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. She will be part of three expeditions – 59, 60 and 61 – during her current first spaceflight. Her mission is planned to be just shy of the longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut – 340 days, set by former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly during his one-year mission in 2015-16.

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Between June and September, several astronauts will return to Earth and be replaced by others, including an Italian, Luca Parmitano, and the first ever astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, who will spend about a week in space.

ASA has gathered vast amounts of data on astronaut health and performance over the past 50 years and has focused recently on extended durations up to one year with the dedicated mission of Scott Kelly and extended mission of Peggy Whitson. These opportunities also have demonstrated that there is a significant degree of variability in human response to spaceflight and it’s important to determine the acceptable degree of change for both men and women.

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Koch arrived on the ISS on March 14 with two other crew members — an American and a Russian — for what was initially planned to be a six-month mission.

“It feels awesome,” Koch said when told her mission was being prolonged. “I have known that this was a possibility for a long time and it’s truly a dream come true.”

“Astronauts demonstrate amazing resilience and adaptability in response to long duration spaceflight exposure,” said Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist of the Human Research Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This will enable successful exploration missions with healthy, performance-ready astronauts. NASA is looking to build on what we have learned with additional astronauts in space for more than 250 days. Christina’s extended mission will provide additional data for NASA’s Human Research Program and continue to support future missions to the Moon and Mars.”

The ISS, a rare area of cooperation between Moscow and Washington has been orbiting the Earth since 1998.


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