US astronaut to spend 11 months in space, set female record

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FILE – In this Thursday, March 14, 2019 file photo, U.S. astronaut Christina Koch, member of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), speaks with her relatives through a safety glass prior the launch of Soyuz MS-12 space ship at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Koch will remain on […]

A NASA astronaut will spend nearly a year at the International Space Station, setting a record for women.

Station astronaut Christina Koch, a Grand Rapids native,  will remain on board for about 11 months, until February. That approaches but doesn’t quite break Scott Kelly’s 340-day U.S. record. She knew before launching last month that her flight might stretch into 2020. She says it’s awesome.

Another NASA astronaut will also have an extended stay. Andrew Morgan will launch to the space station this summer for a nine-month mission — also considerably longer than the usual six months.

NASA announced the extended assignments this week.

Koch will break the record of 288 days for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at the end of December. Retired astronaut Peggy Whitson is the current record-holder.

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