Christina Koch, a NASA female astronaut, is going to board on a space flight for her mission on the International Space Station (ISS), setting the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch arrived at the space station on March 14 and her mission, extended to 328 days, as it is scheduled to remain in space until February 2020, will exceed the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-2017.
Christina Koch will take part at three expeditions during her current spaceflight: 59, 60, 61, a statement released by NASA said. A new schedule and new crew tasks set by NASA and its ISS partners will also have the first flight of NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and a prolonged stay for NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan.
Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist of the Human Research Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, US reportedly said that Koch’s mission will gather supplementary information for NASA’s Human Research Program and will sustain support for future expeditions to the Moon and Mars.
Christina Koch to set a new record for a female astronaut
Christina Koch’s expedition is planned to be just a little bit shorter than the longest single spaceflight (340 days) performed by former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly during his mission in 2015-2016. Koch and her NASA colleague Nick Hague, also Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will remain at the space station and begin Expedition 60.
NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are due to drive to the space station and join Expedition 60, on July 20. The orbiting laboratory team will be again complete with all six members.
NASA reported that the expeditions of Morgan and Koch will help researchers collect supplementary information about the effects of long-duration human spaceflight longer than the usual six-month station mission.
Colossal amounts of data were collected by NASA over the past 50 years, considering the astronaut’s health and performance. NASA has recently started to focus on longer mission durations up to one year, with the devoted mission of Scott Kelly and extended mission of Peggy Whitson. These expeditions have also displayed that there is an meaningful degree of variability in human response to spaceflight and it is crucial to conclude the acceptable degree of change for both women and men.
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