NASA announced on “Good Morning America” Wednesday that it is set to schedule a record-setting flight of 328 days for astronaut and North Carolina State graduate Christina Koch, WTVD reports.
Koch first arrived at the International Space Station on March 14 and plans to remain in orbit until February 2020. If completed, it will be the longest single spaceflight by a woman, surpassing the record of 288 days set by Peggy Whitson in 2016-17.
Koch will also be just 12 days shy of the longest single spaceflight by a NASA astronaut, 340 days, which was set by Scott Kelly during his one-year mission in 2015-16.
In July, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will be joining Koch at the space station where scientists will gather additional data about the effects of long-duration human spaceflight. This research will support future deep space expeditions to the moon and Mars, according to WTVD.
This news may come as a pleasant surprise to those who were disappointed when the highly-anticipated, historic all-female spacewalk initially scheduled for Mach was cancelled.
Christina Koch and Anne McClain were set for the spacewalk on March 29 which would have marked the first with only women in the International Space Station’s 21-year history. Instead, Koch did her spacewalk with fellow astronaut Nick Hague, making her the 14th woman to do a spacewalk, NASA reports.
McClain did a spacewalk on March 11 — making her the 13th woman to walk in space — and learned then that the medium spacesuit fits her best. Medium turned out to be the same size Koch wears.
Unfortunately, there was only one medium spacesuit available at that date and time at the International Space Station.