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Astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth

Koch has spent more time in space than any other woman.

Former astronaut Alan Bean’s “Kissing The Earth” (1994).
Former astronaut Alan Bean’s “Kissing The Earth” (1994).
Alan Bean

Christina Koch has returned to Earth after spending 328 days in space, the longest space trip completed by any female astronaut in history, The New York Times reports.

The previous female record was held by another American astronaut, Peggy Whitson, who returned to Earth last year after spending 289 days in space, according to BBC.

Koch’s journey was just 12 days short of beating the all-time American record of time spent in space set by Scott Kelly in 2016 (340 days).

Whitson has no qualms about her record being broken, as the now retired astronaut told the Washington Post she sees it as a sign of progress for female astronauts.

Koch was joined in her return voyage from the International Space Station by Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, reports TechCrunch.

The capsule containing the three explorers landed safely Thursday in Kazakhstan.

The three astronauts have already undergone preliminary medical evaluations and been found to be in good health, reports Fox News.

NASA shared the following video of Koch rejoicing as she was helped out of the space capsule.

Her long stay in space isn’t her only record, as Koch was part of the first all-female spacewalk with fellow astronaut Jessica Meir back in October, The Washington Post reports. Koch says participating in that particular spacewalk was the highlight of her 11-month mission, NBC News reports,