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Apr 18, 2019
2:16PM

NASA astronaut to set record for longest spaceflight by a woman

AP
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days. This would set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.  

The US space agency and its ISS partners have set a new schedule and new crew assignments. Koch arrived at the space station on March 14 and now is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020. She will eclipse the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. 

She will be part of three expeditions -- 59, 60 and 61 -- during her current first spaceflight. Her extended mission will provide additional data for NASA's Human Research Program and continue to support future missions to the Moon and Mars. The longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut is 340 days, set by former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly during his one-year mission in 2015-16.

Koch and fellow NASA astronaut Nick Hague, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin will remain aboard the space station and begin Expedition 60. On July 20, Morgan, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov are scheduled to launch to the space station and join Expedition 60, returning the orbiting laboratory's crew complement to six.

The extended missions of Koch and Morgan will help scientists gather additional data about the effects of long-duration human spaceflight beyond those of the normal six-month station expedition. Such research is essential to support future deep space exploration missions to the Moon and Mars.

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