ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN: NASA astronaut Christina Koch broke the glass ceiling for all-women by staying almost 11 months aboard the International Space Station, shattering the spaceflight record for female astronauts.
After 328 days in space, Koch touched down at 0912 GMT on the Kazakh steppe with the European Space Agency's (ESA) Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency.
Koch said that she is overwhelmed by the support she received for her achievements. She was extracted from the Soyuz descent module in the Roscosmos space agency's video footage. She went to space on March 14th last year.
The 41-year-old Christina Koch is a Michigan-born engineer and she beat NASA veteran Peggy Whitson's record of most space-time which was 289 days. Koch regards Whitson as a hero and a mentor who inspired her. Koch wants to inspire the next generation of explorers, especially women.
Koch also made a record for participating in the first-ever all-women spacewalk with NASA counterpart Jessica Meir, who was her classmate from NASA training class.
The spacewalk was initially cancelled because there were no suits suitable for women, thus conjuring allegations of sexism. The former secretary of state Hillary Clinton simply tweeted to NASA to make another spacesuit for women.
Welcome back to Earth, @Astro_Christina, and congratulations on breaking the female record for the longest stay in space! You’re inspiring young women and making the USA proud! Enjoyed speaking with you and @Astro_Jessica on the first all-female spacewalk IN HISTORY last year.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Valentina Tereshkova was the trailblazer for women in space and her spaceflight in 1963 is still the only solo mission carried out by a woman.
Tereshkova and Yelena Serova, who went to space in 2014, are now lawmakers in Russia, representing the ruling United Russia party.