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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Christina Koch returns after long stay in space - on line for another great moment ?

Have you ever stayed away from your home for months together and how home-sick are you ?.. .. .. this woman astronaut  did not set out to break records on her first spaceflight, but with her return to Earth after nearly a year in orbit, her mission is now one for the history books.

Koch, a NASA astronaut, landed on the snow-covered steppe of Kazakhstan on Thursday (Feb. 6) with two of her International Space Station (ISS) crewmates, Expedition 61 commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.  Descending under a parachute and further slowed by braking thrusters, the three touched down aboard Russia's Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft southeast of the Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan at 4:12 a.m. EST (0912 GMT or 3:12 p.m. local time).

Christina Hammock Koch  is an American engineer and NASA astronaut of the class of 2013. She received Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. She also did advanced study while working for the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Just before becoming an astronaut, she served with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as Station Chief for American Samoa.

On March 14, 2019, Koch launched to the International Space Station as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 59, 60 and 61. On October 18, 2019, she and Jessica Meir were the first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk. On Dec 28, 2019, Koch broke the record for longest continuous time in space by a woman. She returned from space on Feb 6, 2020.  .. would she achieve more is the Q now – as there are talks on whether the record-setting NASA astronatu be the 1st woman on the moon? Koch said she'd be honored to be part of a 2024 moon landing.  She is basking in all glory after her recent return to mother  Earth after a record 328 days in space-  NASA astronaut Christina Koch just spent 11 months in Earth orbit, and she'd welcome a trip much farther afield. The U.S. space agency is working to land two astronauts, at least one of whom will be a woman, on the surface of the moon by 2024, as directed last year by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. NASA has not yet selected those two spaceflyers, but Koch said she'd definitely answer the call if her name came up.

 No woman has ever served aboard the orbiting lab for a longer continuous stint, and Koch's mission came up just 12 days shy of the American single-spaceflight record, which Scott Kelly set in 2016. These long-duration missions are designed to help NASA and the international human-spaceflight community prepare for trips to deep-space destinations, especially Mars, which is a six- to nine-month ride away from Earth using current propulsion technology.  NASA aims to put boots on the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s, and the agency plans to use the moon as a steppingstone on that epic journey. The 2024 lunar landing, which is part of NASA's Artemis program of moon exploration, is designed to advance this long-term vision.

Meantime MailOnline reports that NASA astronaut Christina Koch felt like a 'two-week-old' baby after returning from a record-breaking 328-day stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  Aside from sore muscles and trouble with balance, she told reporters that she's readjusting well to gravity, although her neck hurt for about a day.  'What I have noticed is that my balance has taken a little while to get used to,' she said in Houston on Wednesday, six days after returning to Earth.   Koch considers herself lucky she didn't have the sore feet and burning skin suffered by NASA's all-time endurance champ, Scott Kelly, whose returned to earth four years ago after a 340-day mission.  Koch returned home to Galveston, Texas, to find a kitchen full of chips and salsa, something she'd craved in orbit.  She hit the beach with her husband, Bob, and their dog, a rescue pup called LBD, or Little Brown Dog, just three days after her landing in Kazakhstan. 'I'm not sure who was more excited to see the other,' Koch said. 'It's just a symbol of coming back to the people and places that you love, to see your favourite animal.'

Koch said that it only took her about three months to feel at home on the ISS, and that daily activities started to feel normal – even floating due to the low gravity.   'I kind of forgot I was floating until a new crew would come and they would be so excited about floating,' she said.  Koch also advised the next generation of female space explorers to follow their passions and 'do what scares you'. 'Do the things that might feel like they're just out of your reach, they're intriguing you, they're drawing you in, but you don't know for sure if you can do it. 'Go after that thing – not only will you maximally impact the world but you'll get the most personal fulfilment out of it and use that as a springboard.'

Koch surpassed the previous record set for a single spaceflight by a woman – 289 days, set by NASA veteran Peggy Whitson in 2017 – on December 28, 2019. As well as breaking the record for longest continuous time in space by a woman, Koch also ranks seventh on the list for overall time spent in space by US astronauts. 

Interesting to read the great accomplishment

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Feb 2020.

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