Feb 6, 2020 - Science

Astronaut Christina Koch lands on Earth after record-setting mission

NASA astronaut Christina Koch smiles as she's pulled from her space capsule in Kazakhstan under a blue sky.

NASA's Christina Koch. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is back on Earth after spending 328 days in space, living and working onboard the International Space Station.

Why it matters: During her time in orbit, Koch participated in the first all-woman spacewalk and set a record for the longest continuous spaceflight by a female astronaut in history.

  • She and her fellow crewmates — the European Space Agency's Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov — landed back on Earth in Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m. ET.

The big picture: Koch's nearly yearlong mission is part of NASA's effort to learn more about how the human body responds to long duration spaceflight ahead of sending people to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

  • Scott Kelly is the only astronaut with a longer flight under his belt, with a mission that lasted 340 days.

By the numbers: According to NASA, Koch orbited Earth in 5,248 times during her months in orbit.

  • That equates to about 139 million miles traveled.
  • She also performed six spacewalks, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside of the station in total.
Go deeper