HOUSTON — Michigan-born astronaut Christina Koch says space began to "feel like home" after she spent nearly 11 months in space. She set a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a female astronaut, spending 328 days in space.
Koch spoke about her experience for the first time in a press conference held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"There was definitely a point at which it started to feel like home, and that actually came pretty quickly into the mission," said Koch. "I would say only about three months in, is where I started to sort of feel at home there."
Koch dreamed of becoming an astronaut from a young age, eventually turning that dream into reality. Even before her latest mission, she made history by being part of the first all-female space walk, alongside astronaut Jessica Meir.
Since her return to Earth, Koch has been readjusting to gravity and relishing moments with her dog and family.
"The most important things for me, that I brought to space were things from my friends and family -- mementos that they can take with them and remember that I carried them with me, and they lived without them for a year while they were in my care and orbiting earth," said Koch. "So bringing those things back was probably my most important thing.”
Koch attributes much of her success to her family and relatives, many of which still live in West Michigan.
"My family [in West Michigan] that are farmers was completely instrumental in me getting to where I am today," said Koch. "I worked in the fields with my grandparents and my uncles."
Koch said she learned life lessons from her Michigan family: "the grit that I learned from how hard that they worked, and the idea of just constantly giving and looking at each day as an opportunity to do as much as you can for the people around you and for the community around you."