Having arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on 14 March this year, US astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth in February 2020 and in the process beat the record established in 2017 by Peggy Whitson.spa
Photo credits: NASA/Wikimedia Commons
A US astronaut is set to establish a new women’s record for the longest stay in space. Christina Koch is going to spend around eleven months on board the International Space Station (ISS), and in the process break the previous record set by Peggy Whitson in 2017, NASA announced on Wednesday 17 April. 40-year-old Koch arrived at the ISS on 14 March with a US and a Russian colleague, but those two will be returning to Earth without her on 3 October. She will stay there until an as-yet unspecified date in February 2020, making her stay in space longer than fellow American Peggy Whitson in 2016–2017 (288 days), but a few days shorter than that of Scott Kelly (USA) and Mikhail Kornienko (Russia) – 340 days in 2015-2016.
Absolute record –14 months
Russia’s Valeri Poliakov holds the absolute record for the longest journey in space after spending 14 months on board the former Russian space station Mir in 1994 and 1995.
Missions on the ISS tend to last around six months. The current team is made up of six people: three from the USA (Christina Koch, Anne McClain and Nick Hague), two Russians (Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin), and Canada’s David Saint-Jacques.
First ever astronaut from the United Arab Emirates
Some of them will be returning to Earth between June and September, with new team members replacing them, most notably Italian Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency and also the first ever astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, who is set to spend just over a week in space, from 25 September – 3 October.
These various comings and goings are currently being carried out by Russian Soyuz rockets, with new US capsules developed by SpaceX and Boeing set to be officially ready by the end of 2019.
Cover photo credits: NASA/Wikimedia Commons
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