The American astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth this Thursday after having spent almost a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and thus broke the female record of permanence in space.
The Soyuz capsule with NASA’s Christina Koch and her colleagues on board (the Italian Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and the Russian cosmonaut Alexandre Skvortsov) landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan in Central Asia at 09:12 GMT , after a three and a half hour flight.
“The landing was carried out as planned and the crew feels good,” said the head of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), Dimitri Rogozin, in a message on the social network Twitter.RELATED
“I am touched and happy,” said Koch, smiling, after being removed from the capsule and installed in a chair.
“Welcome back to Earth, @Astro_Christina, and congratulations on breaking the female record of permanence in space! You are an inspiration for young women and a pride for the United States! ”Tweeted US President Donald Trump.
Welcome back to Earth, @Astro_Christina, and congratulations on breaking the female record for the longest stay in space! You’re inspiring young women and making the USA proud! Enjoyed speaking with you and @Astro_Jessica on the first all-female spacewalk IN HISTORY last year.
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Parmitano waved his hand to indicate that he felt good while Skvortsov ate an apple just after landing, according to a video distributed by Roskosmos.
Inhabitants of the Kazakh steppes, mounted on horseback, attended this landing in the middle of the snow in an unpublished picture.
Christina Koch, 41, remained on board the ISS 328 days, hitting the previous record, which was held by Peggy Whitson, a veteran of US space.
On December 28, 2019, Koch spent his 289 days in space, while his countryman was only 288 days in a row.
This American engineer has already gone down in history with her first 100% female spacewalk she did in October 2019 with her compatriot Jessica Meir, a marine biologist.
In an interview on Tuesday, two days before his return to Earth, Christina Koch told the NBC that what she was going to miss most is “microgravity.”
“It’s very fun to be in a place where you can jump from floor to ceiling when you want,” he said, smiling.
Agence France-Presse ‘Site for women’
Despite beating the record, Christina Koch says Peggy Whitson, 59, with three space missions, remains her “hero” and “mentor.” She dreams of “inspiring the future generation of explorers.”
Koch returns to Earth shortly after the presentation, in the Super Bowl, of a new commercial for the cosmetic brand Olay with space dyes.
The announcement, starring NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, calls for “making room for women” and aims to help the company raise $ 500,000 for the nonprofit Women Who Code, which encourages young women to Study technology and science.
The first woman to fly into space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. His flight in 1963 remains the only space mission performed by a woman alone.
Since the launch of the ISS launches, Russia has only sent men into space, with the exception of Elena Serova in 2014.
The two cosmonauts are currently deputies in the state Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) where they represent the party in power United Russia.
Agence France-Presse And the men?
Unlike Koch, whose stay at the ISS has been extended over the initial period, Luca Parmitano and Alexandre Skvortsov finish six-month missions.
On Tuesday, Parmitano passed the ISS controls to Roskosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skrípochka.
The 43-year-old Italian astronaut has regularly published photos of the Earth taken from the ISS, which show forest fires in Australia or the Alps, which he describes as “a backbone that never bows to time.”
Four cosmonauts spent a year or more in space during a single mission. The absolute record of 437 days is held by Valeri Poliakov.
Among NASA astronauts, the record is Scott Kelly, with 340 days in a row at the ISS, before returning to Earth in 2016.