NASA and the agency’s International Space Station (ISS) partners have announced a revised crew schedule that will see Christina Koch remain onboard the station for 328 days. The extended stay will see the NASA astronaut surpass the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.
Koch’s extended stay was revealed in a press release published earlier today. The extension will see the 40-year-old NASA astronaut surpass Peggy Whitson who completed a 288-day stay in 2016-17. During her 328-day stay onboard the station, Koch will be a part of three different expedition crews (59, 60 and 61), allowing scientists to gather valuable data about the effects of extended spaceflight on human beings.
“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,” read the official press release. “Such research is essential to support future deep space exploration missions to the Moon and Mars.”
Koch’s record-setting stay, once complete, will only narrowly fall short of the longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut. This record is held by Scott Kelly with a 340-day stay onboard the station.
In addition to announcing Koch’s extended stay, NASA also revealed the next two Expedition crews and their launch dates.
The next crewed mission will launch to the station on July 20 with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov onboard. Two months later on September 25, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and United Arab Emirates’ Hazzaa Ali Almansoori will make their way to the ISS. Ali Almansoori is a Roscosmos commercial passenger who will return with Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin following a 7-day stay aboard the station.