Christian Koch returns to Earth after spending 328 days on the International Space Station and breaks the record for the longest single flight completed by a woman. Astronaut Koch is a veteran of six spacewalks outside the International Space Station along with the first all-female astronaut excursion.
Koch landed in Kazakhstan on Tuesday morning with the help of an Italian flight engineer, Luca Oarmitano, and a Russian commander, Alexander Skvortsov. Koch and her crewmates landed at 4:12 a.m. (3:12 p.m. local time) near Dzhezkazgan for an immediate medical inspection.
The crew rested in recliners for the medical checks, provided with fresh fruit to eat and satellite phones to call their loved ones while they readjust to Earth’s gravity effects. The initial medical examinations showed the crew way healthy and were transferred to a tent for further examination and testing. Once medically cleared the crew was flown by helicopter to Karaganda for the crew to fly home.
Koch’s mission started when she landed at the space station in March for a total of 328 days in space with her voyage covering 5,238 orbits over 139 million miles. Her voyage is just 12 days short of breaking the record for the U.S. single-flight endurance record that was set by former astronaut Scott Kelly. Koch’s new record puts her in the ranks of being No. 7 on the list of most experienced U.S. NASA astronauts and 50th in the world.
During her mission, she participated in six spacewalks for a total of 42 hours and 15 minutes. Last year on Oct. 18 with astronaut Jessica Meir she made history with the first all-female spacewalk working on solar array batteries.
Astronaut Koch is being celebrated worldwide and has #ChristianKoch trending on Twitter, making history in the name of female astronauts.