HOUSTON – NASA Astronaut Christina Koch is a space-exploring trailblazer.
She is leading the way for women in spaceflight, after spending 328 days on the international space station. Koch returned from the exploration last week. It is the longest space flight in history by a woman. She spoke about her experience in space and shared some of her most memorable moments with KPRC 2.
KPRC 2: Three hundred and twenty-eight days is a long time to be away from home and your loved ones. How did you stay focused?
Koch: “You have to become a mental cheerleader for yourself. Focus on the things you have that you’ll never have again in life versus what you’re missing. It helps you to recognize every day how special what you have is, which then, in turn, makes you feel you need to bring your best to meet that every single day.”
KPRC 2: When did being on board the international space station stop feeling like an expedition and start feeling more like home?
Koch: “About three months in. Not using a cup to have a drink of water, filling up food packets and things like that, even floating. I jokingly say that I kind of forgot I was floating until a new crew would come and they would be so excited about floating and I would say oh, I guess we are floating, aren’t we?”
KPRC 2: After completing the longest single space flight by a woman, what is your biggest hope?
Koch: “That my record is exceeded as soon as possible. That means we are pushing the boundaries. More people are living up to their dreams and their potential.”
KPRC 2: What is your best advice to future space explorers?
Koch: “Follow your passions, be true to yourself, do what you love and live the life you’ve imagined for yourself. Live according to your own passions and let them guide you.”
KPRC 2: Who advised you before your long mission in space?
Koch:" I had great mentors, astronauts Scott Kelly and Peggy Whitson."
KPRC 2: Did you realize you were making history while in space?
Koch: “No. It definitely had to be pointed out. I don’t like being the center of attention, but milestones are important, such as the first all-female spacewalk, because they are great motivators.”
KPRC 2: How has the transition to life back on Earth been for you?
Koch: “The transition has been easy. I have great teams to make sure that happens. I am discovering some muscles that I haven’t used in a while.”
KPRC 2: What is the first thing you did when you returned home?
Koch: " I reunited with my dog, LBD, which was wonderful. I also took a family trip to the beach, taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean is something I really missed."