Photo by NASA
Photo by NASA/Bill Stafford

Christina Koch

Astronaut, Electrical Engineer

National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Astronaut, Electrical Engineer


National Aeronautics and Space Administration









What makes Christina Koch a Global Shaker?

Christina Koch is an electrical engineer and NASA astronaut. In February 2020, she ended her 328-day stint on the International Space Station, the longest-ever single spaceflight by a woman.

Her journey, the fifth longest of all time, is just 12 days short of the all-time US record set by Scott Kelly in 2015-2016.

“For me, it’s all about the honour I feel to follow in the footsteps of my heroes,” Koch told reporters after landing. “For me, it was important to see people that I saw a reflection of myself in, growing up, when I was envisioning what I could do with my life and what my dreams might be. To maybe be that source of inspiration for someone else is just such an honour,” she said.

During this journey, which was her first trip into space, she orbited Earth 5, 248 times—139 million miles (almost 223,699,000 kilometres), about the same of flying from Earth to the Moon 291 times. She conducted and supported over 210 investigations as well as served as a research subject to observe the effects of long-term spaceflight on a woman.

On 18 October 2019, she participated in the first all-female spacewalk with Jessica Meir. During this time, the duo replaced a failed power control unit outside the International Space Station—a feat that took seven hours.

“When we first got the ‘go’ to come out of the airlock, and we ended up coming out, we were holding on to a handrail and we just caught each other’s eyes,” she told NBC News, as reported by BBC. “We knew how special that moment was and I’ll never forget that.”

Prior to her work as an astronaut, Koch’s career mostly focused on space science instrument development and remote scientific field engineering.

After graduating from the NASA Academy programme at Goddard Space Flight Center, she worked as an electrical engineer for the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics. She then served as a a research associate in the United States Antarctic Programme. Koch later worked in  space science instrument development as an electrical engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Space Department.

She has received numerous honours throughout her career, including the NASA Group Achievement Award, NASA Juno Mission Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument and the United States Congress Antarctic Service Medal with Winter‐Over distinction.

Tags: aerospace engineering, NASA, space exploration, STEM, Women in Science, Women in Tech

Last updated: March 8, 2020