US astronaut Christina Koch landed in Kazakstan after a record stay on the International Space Station, ending a 328-day mission to achieve new breakthroughs in space travel.
The capsule, Soyuz MS-13, carrying astronauts Koch, 41, European astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, landed on the Kazakh desert at 4:12 am ET.
“It’s really fun to be in a place where you can just bounce around between the ceiling and the floor whenever you want,” Koch, who blasted off on March 14 last year, told the media after she landed on earth.
“I am so overwhelmed and happy right now,” Koch said.
Expressing her delight over the recently concluded space travel, she told media agency NBC that she would miss the effect of ‘microgravity’ in space.
Koch’s mission will provide the much-anticipated data on the effect the weightlessness of gravity and space radiation will have on female bodies, the researcher said.
Much to the delight of the space-buffs, researchers at NASA have said that the data could be useful in building a permanent space station on the moon`s surface in the next 10 years.
Koch’s mission kickstarted in April and was scheduled to carry on for six months but it was extended to nearly a year during her stay at the space station.
The mission will be etched in history as Koch’s record for the longest continuous stays in space by a woman, breaking the earlier record set by NASA’s Peggy Whitson.
NASA veteran Whitson, now 60, previously held the record of spending 289 days in space in 2016-17.
The 41-year-old Michigan-born engineer beat Whitson’s record on December 28 last year.
Koch called Whitson “a heroine of mine” and a “mentor” in the space programme.
Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman in space. Her spaceflight in 1963 is still the only solo mission carried out by a woman.
Courtesy : DNA