The American astronaut's time on the International Space Station is said to be the longest continuous spaceflight by a female astronaut.

She return to earth on January 6, 2020, having blasted off on 12 March last year.

Her voyage saw her make 5,248 orbits of the Earth, witnessing 16 sunrises and sunsets every day, and travel 223m km, according to The Guardian newspaper.

hristina Koch shortly after returning from space: ‘I am so overwhelmed and happy right now.’ Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/AP
hristina Koch shortly after returning from space: ‘I am so overwhelmed and happy right now.’ Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/AP

While in space, Koch recounted her fond memories at the University of Ghana, saying it was a positive, life-changing, perspective-deepening experience.

"Seeing the beauty of Ghana from space reminds me of the amazing people I met there and how in exploring the world, we learn about ourselves," he added.

The US astronaut took a semester to study in Ghana while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics at North Carolina State University.

Koch is a NASA astronaut of the class of 2013. She was selected as one of the eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class.

Her Astronaut Candidate Training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training.

Christina Koch
Christina Koch

She completed astronaut candidate training in July 2015 and was assigned to her first space flight, a long-duration mission on the International Space Station, in 2018.

On October 18, 2019, Koch was part of the two first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk.