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Regular-article-logo Monday, 26 February 2024

Woman astronaut sets space record

A 328-day mission which is expected to yield new insights into deep-space travel

Reuters Washington Published 06.02.20, 07:15 PM
Christina Koch smiles after the landing of Soyuz MS-13 near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Thursday

Christina Koch smiles after the landing of Soyuz MS-13 near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on Thursday (AP photo)

US astronaut Christina Koch, who led the first all-female spacewalk in 2019, landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a record stay on the International Space Station, ending a 328-day mission expected to yield new insights into deep-space travel.

The Soyuz MS-13 capsule touched down on the Kazakh desert steppe at 4.12am (US Eastern Time) carrying Koch, 41, European astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

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They will be flown by search and recovery teams to the Karaganda region to begin their journey home.

“I’m just so overwhelmed and happy right now,” Koch said, sitting in a chair wrapped in blankets as she waited to be carried into a medical tent to restore her balance in gravity.

Koch’s mission broke the record for the longest stay in space by a woman, previously held by Nasa’s Peggy Whitson.

She also achieved a gender milestone in a spacewalk with fellow Nasa astronaut Jessica Meir last October that marked the first time two women stepped out of the space station at the same time.

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