On Wednesday morning, NASA announced that Christina Koch, who is already living on board the International Space Station, will extend her mission to 328 days. By doing so, she will become the space agency’s second astronaut to spend nearly a year inside the orbiting laboratory.
“It feels awesome,” Koch said in a video interview from the station. “I have known that this is a possibility for a long time, and it’s truly a dream come true to know that I can continue to work on the program that I have valued so highly my whole life, to continue to contribute to that, to give my best to that for as long as possible is a true honor and a dream come true.”
Koch launched to the station on March 14, along with Aleksey Ovchinin and Nick Hague. As a result of the schedule adjustment, she is now expected to remain in orbit until February 2020, when she returns in a Soyuz spacecraft with NASA astronaut Luca Parmitano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. By doing so, Koch will set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, surpassing the 288 days NASA’s Peggy Whitson spent in space from 2017 to 2018.