Christina Koch sets female space flight record

The American astronaut, who broke Peggy Whitson's record, isn't due to return to Earth until February 2020
Christina koch Astronaut Christina Koch is making history for women in space... and having a great time doing it! (NASA)

We're a couple weeks into 2020, but there's one notable achievement from 2019 that we still want to talk about.

On December 28, 2019, American astronaut Christina Koch marked her 289th straight day in space. Why was that significant? Because it set the record for the longest continuous space flight by a female astronaut.

The previous record was 288 days, held by fellow American Peggy Whitson. Since that record was only set in April 2017, there's reason to believe that Christina's record might not stand long either.

But that that doesn't mean she's not looking to add to her record.

Still in orbit

Christina koch

Christina Koch alongside astronauts Anne McClain and Canadian David Saint-Jacques back in May 2019. (NASA)

That's because Christina is still on the ISS as we write this. Only days ago — on January 9th — she celebrated 300 days in space. NASA even made this little tribute video!

In fact, thanks to some scheduling delays, she's not due to return home until some time in February 2020. That will push her total to at least 328 days. And that is starting to get close to the all-time record for an American astronaut — 340 straight days, set by Mark Kelly.

Both of those astronauts still have a way to go to catch up to Peggy Whitson's other record. At 665 days, 22 hours and 22 minutes, she has spent longer in space total, than any NASA astronaut, male or female. Will Christina break her mark as well?

The next wave

Currently, NASA has its sights set on two places: the Moon and Mars. In particular, the Artemis program — which is focused on setting up a permanent lunar station — is already in full swing.

In both cases, human beings will be pushed to their absolute limits learning how to survive the effects of microgravity on the body. So while Christina Koch is currently the longest continuously space-bound woman in history, she hopes that it's only a matter of time before her mark is broken. As she told CNN, seeing her mark broken will mean that "we're continuing to push those boundaries" in space.

And isn't that everything that NASA is about?

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