NASA astronaut Christina Koch made the most of her first trip to the International Space Station by breaking the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman and conducting the first all-female spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.
“We caught each other’s eye and we knew that we were really honored with this opportunity to inspire so many, and just hearing our voices talk to Mission Control, knowing two female voices had never been on the loops, solving those problems together outside — it was a really special feeling,” Koch said of that first spacewalk, on October 18.
According to CNN, Koch returned to Earth early Thursday along with European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the astronauts landed near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan at 4:12 a.m. ET.
Koch also devoted much of her time to a variety of experiments and investigations. The space station acts as an orbiting laboratory that can be used to test how different aspects of everyday human life on Earth react to the lack of gravity.
During her mission, Koch completed six spacewalks — including another two with Meir — and spent 42 hours and 15 minutes outside of the station.