Koch’s time in space was history-making. After she hit 289 days, 5 hours and 1 minute in space, Koch broke the record previously set by astronaut Peggy Whitson, giving her the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman in history.
“Having the opportunity to be up here for so long is truly an honor,” Koch said of her history-making accomplishment back in December, according to Space.com. “Peggy is a heroine of mine and has also been kind enough to mentor me through the years, so it is a reminder to give back and to mentor when I get back.”
“It is a wonderful thing for science. We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long term. That is really important for our future spaceflight plans, going forward to the moon and Mars,” she continued.
A few months prior, Koch was part of the first-ever all-female space walk when she and fellow astronaut Jessica Meir spent more than seven hours fixing a faulty power controller outside of the ISS.
The only other American astronaut to spend more days in space than Koch is Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days out of this world, according to NASA.