NASA astronaut Christina Koch wrapped up her first stay on the International Space Station Feb. 6, 2020, and it is one for the record books. Koch arrived in space in March 2019 and spent a total of 328 days living and working in the orbiting laboratory.
Koch's stay set a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, breaking the record previously set by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. It was also the second-longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut, after Scott Kelly's yearlong mission in 2015.. During her time in space, Koch worked on a host of science experiments and performed spacewalks including the first ever performed by two women.
Also in the Soyuz capsule Koch rode home were Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. Remaining in orbit are NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka. A new trio of crewmembers is slated to launch in April to join them.
Landing personnel reached the Soyuz capsule shortly after it touched down on Feb. 6, 2020.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch uses a satellite phone after returning to Earth on Feb. 6, 2020.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch and her two crewmates touched down near the town of Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan on Feb. 6, 2020.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano take a few minutes to acclimate to Earth after more than 200 days in microgravity each, 328 for Koch.
Local residents check out the commotion around the Soyuz capsule landing in Kazakhstan.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz capsule after returning from 328 days in space.
A view of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft as it descends back to Earth under its main parachute over the remote steppes of Kazakhstan on Feb. 6, 2020. NASA photographer Bill Ingalls captured this (and indeed all the other photos in this slideshow) during the Expedition 61 crew landing that returned Christina Koch, Luca Parmitano and Alezander Skvortov back to Earth. Ingalls was on a Roscosmos recovery team helicopter when he took this image.
The main parachute is spread out on the snow-covered Kazakh steppes after safely delivering its Soyuz capsule to Earth with Christina Koch, Luca Parmitano and Alexander Skvortsov to Earth. A recovery helicopter and team can be seen at the Soyuz capsule in the distance.
A view of one of the Soyuz capsule's windows after the MS-13 spacecraft returned the Expedition 61 crew to Earth.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov is all smiles after returning to Earth with NASA astronaut Christina Koch and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is aided out of the Soyuz capsule in this view by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls captured as recovery teams extracted the Expedition 61 crew from their spacecraft after landing.
The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft, now empty of crew, is prepared for retrieval by Russian recovery teams after the successful landing of Expedition 61 astronauts Christina Koch of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos. The trio landed in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan on Feb. 6, 2020.