Longest spaceflight by woman logged by NASA astronaut Christina Koch

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New York

Call it a giant leap for womankind. As of Saturday, astronaut Christina Koch has set the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, completing her 289th day on the International Space Station.

That bests Peggy Whitson’s stay on the ISS in 2016-17, but Koch’s currently scheduled sojourn will bring her up just short of Scott Kelly’s 340 day record  Koch is set to be on the space station till February, a 328 day visit. Part of her mission is to study how long-term space travel impacts the human body, info that could be crucial as NASA ponders sending astronauts to Mars.

Koch is no stranger to trailblazing in orbit. In October, she and Jessica Meir took the first ever all-woman spacewalk (it was Koch’s fourth outdoor stroll among the stars). She remains humble, though. Of her record-setting ISS stay, she says she’d be happy to relinquish the title.

My No. 1 hope for this milestone, she told CBS This Morning, is that the record is exceeded again as soon as possible. Because that means that we’re continuing to push the boundaries.

Koch has a background as an electrical engineer for NASA, where she worked on scientific instruments for several of the space agency’s missions. She became an astronaut in 2013.

So what’s next? Koch has said she wouldn’t mind being the first woman on the moon.

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