The space age, which was kicked off when the satellite Sputnik 1 was successfully launched into space in 1950, also prompted the developed countries to make huge investments to this area and create many innovations for mankind. Space works gained another dimension when Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth on 12 April 1961 with the space shuttle Vostok. This gradually created the ability for us to construct the ISS (International Space Station) where astronauts can stay much longer in space. Finally, female NASA astronaut Christina Koch made history when she made the longest uninterrupted space flight.
On 14 March 2019, the American Astronaut Christina Koch used the Soyuz Shuttle to get to the ISS and participate in the Discovery 59 expedition. She made a new record when she stayed in the ISS for 328 days. So Koch, 41, became the female astronaut who stayed in the ISS for the longest time in one session. During her duty, Koch made 5,248 tours around the orbit and travelled 223 million kilometres.
“I hope to become a beacon of inspiration”
The length of Koch’s voyage in the orbit is equal to 291 round trips between the Earth and the Moon. When remotely interviewed at the ISS before her landing, Christina Koch reported that she wished to become an inspiration for the next generations. In her words
“Do what scares you. What rouses your interest, and what motivates you? Everyone should think about this. Things may come across frightening at first, but at the same time it means that you are interested in it. Do the things that might feel like they’re just out of your reach, they’re intriguing you, they’re drawing you in, but you don’t know for sure if you can do it. Go after that thing. Not only will you maximally impact the world, but you’ll get the most personal fulfilment out of it and use that as a springboard to just keep doing the same thing.
Moments of success in space for women
In the past, American astronaut Peggy Whitson stayed in the ISS for 289 days before returning to Earth. Up to now, 14 female astronauts made space walks. In 1984, Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to do a spacewalk outside the Salyut 7 space station. In October, American astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir went down in history in 2019 as the first fully female of team astronauts to perform a space walk. The duo repaired a malfunctioning power panel outside the ISS.
It is a well-established projection that women’s success in space works will exponentially increase in the coming years.
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