European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, IZ0UDF, who returned to Earth June 11 with crew mates NASA Astronaut Terry Virts, and Russian Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, has set a new record for the longest single space mission by a woman. Cristoforetti’s tour of duty onboard the International Space Station was extended by about a month, following the failure in late April of the Russian robotic Progress 59 cargo spacecraft to reach the ISS. The Progresswent out of control, eventually burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
“Early start into Day 200 in #space,” Cristoforetti tweeted before boarding theSoyuz vehicle for the trip home. “It’s been an amazing journey, thx for coming along! Now time to go home to Earth.”
While in space, Cristoforetti, 38, conducted several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts. She was to have returned to Earth in early May. Cristoforetti, from Italy, set the record on June 6, when she surpassed the previous record of 194 days, 18 hours, 2 minutes, logged by NASA astronaut Suni Williams, KD5PLB, during her time onboard the International Space Station in 2007. Cristoforetti’s new record will come up just short of 200 hours, counting her flight back to Earth.
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