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Record-Setting Astronaut Returns To Earth

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is pictured during a spacewalk on January 15, 2020. Photo: NASA

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth early Thursday morning after a record-setting stay on the International Space Station.

After landing in Kazakhstan, Koch will have spent 328 days in space — more time on a single mission by any woman. She came just a few days shy of Mark Kelly’s record for most time in space by a U.S. astronaut.

Koch completed the first all-female spacewalk last year, with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. On the station, she assisted in more than 210 scientific investigations.

She also helped study the effects of weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. NASA will study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on Koch, helping to better understand the risks that await astronauts for missions to the moon or Mars.

Koch departs the station with two others — European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. They’ll make the trip back to Earth in a Russian Soyuz capsule. Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonauts will remain at the station.

A new crew of three is set to launch to the station in April, including NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »