Space explorations are difficult and expensive watersheds to establish. For decades, countries have launched innumerable arrows into the targets of space exploration and only few reach the required mark. Nevertheless, NASA astronaut Christina Koch creates history in space yet again. On December 28, she completed 289 days in space. With this she broke the record of the longest single space flight by a woman. Astronaut Peggy Whitson held the previous record of spaceflight of 288 days.
Earlier in October, Christina along with Jessica Mier stepped outside the international power station to fox the broken ISS. This was the first time in 50 years an all women space-walk was conducted. With four successful spacewalks already under her cap, she has two more lined up with Mier in January.
- Christina Koch completed 289 days in space on December 28.
- With this she broke the record of the longest single space flight by a woman. Astronaut Peggy Whitson held the previous record of spaceflight of 288 days.
- Expedition will help understanding effects of microgravity on human body for longer terms.
- She is an inspiration for young girls who want to pursue STEM.
- With four successful spacewalks already under her cap, she has two more lined up with Mier in January.
Details of Koch’s expedition
Koch has to complete six more weeks at the international space station. She is expected to be back by February 2020 and will have completed more than 300 days in spaceflight. The space engineer was sent to space for a six-month expedition 61 on March 14. However, NASA decided to extend her stay for necessary data collection.
By the time she is back, Koch’s stay will be just short of the record of the longest spaceflight of 340 days. This was set by Scott Kelley, a NASA astronaut, during 2015-16.
“Having the opportunity to be up here for so long is truly an honour?” says Koch in a series of press interviews.
Hopes that Christina’s stay brings
Through Christina’s stay NASA will be able to study the effects of microgravity on the human body for large durations. Furthermore, this analysis will help them carry out efficiently calibrated missions to the moon and mars.
She believes that her journey will be “a wonderful thing for science”. In addition to this, she also says that such milestones are inspiring and bring about a deeper outreach. “My biggest hope for this record is that it is exceeded as soon as possible again because that means we are continuing to push those boundaries,” said Koch in a press conference. “I think that highlighting that it was the first-ever all-female spacewalk, is important because seeing those milestones be broken tells people where we are at and where we think the importance lies,” she added.
Lives of women in STEM
Christina attained her degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in the United States. Young women who want to step into STEM careers draw upon the elixir of motivation and perseverance from pioneers like Koch. Furthermore, these milestones help the world understand their position in understanding the mysteries of space.
“I think it is inspiring because future space explorers do need to see people who remind them of themselves.” says Koch as she talks about her record-breaking mission.
In our country, young girls are often discouraged. Due to the highly discriminatory societal norms when they hesitate to put beads into strings of scientific technicalities. Thereafter responsibilities of a household pave way for great deviations from their dreams and aspirations. Even though women continue to outperform the fellow gender academically, they are underpaid, under-recognized and underrepresented.
“I think that highlighting that it was the first-ever all-female spacewalk, is important because seeing those milestones be broken tells people where we are at and where we think the importance lies,” she added.
There is an immediate need to deploy schemes that provide the necessary infrastructure and incentivise more women to be involved in careers related to Science and technology. Next time a young girl is deviated from her dreams to attain heights; we need to recall marvels of Kalpana Chawla, Christina Koch, Jessica Mier and many more. Equal opportunity shall nurture all seeds sown equally and might become beanstalks that reach beyond the limits of the sky.
Picture credit: NASA
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Vipashyana Dubey is an intern with SheThePeople.TV