NASA astronaut Christina Koch aims for record-setting 328 days on ISS

Olive Hawkins
April 20, 2019

Northrop Grumman is set to launch its 11th cargo resupply mission, NG-11, to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Antares rocket today, April 17th.

Astronaut Christina Koch launched to the International Space Station last month.

A NASA astronaut is on track to set a new record in space: the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Three crew members are set to leave the ISS in June, to be replaced by three other members in July.

In late March, NASA canceled what would have been the first all-female spacewalk with Koch and astronaut Anne McClain due to a lack of a spacesuit in the right size for McClain. The Cygnus cargo spacecraft is now loaded with over 7,000 pounds of science, research, station hardware, and crew supplies that are scheduled to launch at 3:46 p.m. CDT.

"It's my honor to follow in Peggy's footsteps", Koch said in a video from the International Space Station, orbiting over 200 miles (322 km) above Earth.

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"One month down. Ten to go", she tweeted Wednesday. That approaches but doesn't quite break Scott Kelly's 340-day US record.

A female astronaut is due to set a record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, the US space agency said Wednesday, the same astronaut who was to have been in the first all-female spacewalk scrapped over lack of a right-sized spacesuit.

"Astronauts demonstrate awesome resilience and adaptability in response to long duration spaceflight exposure", said Jennifer Fogarty, chief scientist of the Human Research Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "This will enable successful exploration missions with healthy, performance-ready astronauts".

"[The agency] is looking to build on what we have learned with additional astronauts in space for more than 250 days", said Jennifer Fogarty, NASA's chief scientist of the Human Research Program. Lt. Commander Chaffee, who was selected by NASA to fly on the first manned mission of the Apollo program in 1967, but who died in a tragic accident with fellow crewmates, Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Ed White II after a fire occurred in the space capsule during a simulation of the Apollo 1 launch. The Caribou, Maine, native was selected as an astronaut in 2013, while serving as an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital.

Russian Federation still holds the world's space endurance record. Her prolonged stay - at an estimated 328 days - will establish a new record for the longest spaceflight completed by a woman. Meir also previously worked for Lockheed Martin's Human Research Facility, participated in reduced gravity research flights, took part in diving expeditions to the Antarctic and Belize, and served as a spaceflight analog crewmember for a NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations underwater mission and an ESA caving mission (ESA CAVES).

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