NASA sets up more long-term space stays

Christina Koch on ISS
NASA’s Christina Koch conducts botany research on the International Space Station. (NASA Photo)

Just days after the publication of scientific results from NASA’s first “Year in Space” mission, the space agency says two more extended stays on the International Space Station are in the works.

One of the missions will set a world record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, and it’s already in progress. NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who went into orbit in March, is having her tour of duty extended to 328 days.

That exceeds the 288 days spent in orbit by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, the current record-holder among women astronauts for continuous time in space. And it comes close to the 340-day NASA record set by Scott Kelly in 2015-2016. (But for what it’s worth, the duration falls far short of the 437-day, 18-hour record set by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Russia’s Mir space station in 1994-1995.)

Koch said spending nearly a year in space will be “awesome.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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