NASA announces record-setting spaceflight mission by woman astronaut

NASA announces record-setting spaceflight mission by woman astronaut

Astronaut Christina Koch, who completed the space walk with a man instead of a female colleague last month, will remain in orbit on board the International Space Station until February, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.

"I have known that this was a possibility for a long time and it's truly a dream come true to know that I can continue to work on the program that I valued so highly my whole life", she continued. Retired astronaut Peggy Whitson is the current record-holder.

NASA uses extended ISS missions as an opportunity to study the effects of long-duration human spaceflight as it looks ahead to missions to the moon and Mars. "Privileged to contribute my best every single day of it".

Such research is essential to support future deep space exploration missions to the Moon and Mars, according to the USA space agency.

The overall NASA record of 340 days, set in 2016, is held by astronaut Scott Kelly in an experiment to compare his physical and mental health to his identical twin Mark Kelly, who remained on Earth.

Koch's fellow Expedition 59 crewmembers Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos will return to Earth in June.

NASA announced the extended assignments this week.

The 3,450kg load also included three free-flying robots to be tested as astronaut helpers, 40 black lab mice and 63 tiny student-research satellites. In the spirit of Chaffee's role to advance the USA space program, we're also proud to demonstrate a number of innovative capabilities for our Cygnus spacecraft during this mission, including our ability to load cargo close to launch and our planned long duration flight which will take place when Cygnus leaves the International Space Station.

Morgan, Meir, and Skripochka are scheduled to touch down in spring 2020.

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