1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Record-breaking astronaut lands back on earth

February 6, 2020

NASA's Christina Koch has returned to Earth, ending the longest spaceflight ever completed by a female astronaut. Koch spent nearly a year on the International Space Station.

American astronaut Christina Koch
Image: picture-alliance/Zuma/NASA

American astronaut Christina Koch landed back on Earth on Thursday, marking the end of the longest space mission ever completed by a female astronaut.

A livestream by Russian space agency Roscosmos showed a capsule carrying Koch as well as Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov touching down safely in a snow-covered field in Kazakhstan Thursday afternoon, local time. 

Read more: What's happening in the night sky in 2020?

Koch spent 328 days on the International Space Station (ISS), breaking a previous spaceflight record for female astronauts of 289 days.

Second time making history

The 41-year-old engineer from Michigan also made space history last October when she and fellow astronaut Jessica Meir completed the first-ever all-woman spacewalk

Read more: Unconscious bias in NASA's spacewalk wardrobe fail?

Koch boarded the space station last March. Her mission, originally scheduled for six months, was extended to nearly a year once she was aboard. 

NASA had said that Koch's long stay would provide valuable information about the long-term effects of space travel on the female body. The US space agency has plans in the works to build a permanent station on the surface of the moon within the next ten years. 

Male cosmonaut Valery Polyakov currently holds the overall record for longest space mission, having completed a stay of 437 days aboard the ISS. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly set the overall American record in 2016 when he returned from a 340-day trip. 

kp/rt (AFP, Reuters)

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up to receive it directly here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

The room where Zelenskyy will meet US lawmakers, with a framed flag signed by Ukrainian fighters in Bakhmut
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage