The former record had been set by her colleague Peggy Whitson, who spent 288 days aboard the International Space Station during her mission in 2017-2018.

On Saturday, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, having stayed at the International Space Station for 289 days, became the first woman to set the record for the longest single space flight.

"It's a wonderful thing for science", she said as quoted by CNN. "We see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long term, and that's really important for our future spaceflight plan going forward to the moon and to Mars."

Nasa has expressed its congratulations to the forty-year-long female astronaut in a tweet.

She arrived at the International Space Station in March 2019, and her mission is scheduled to end on 6 February 2020, which means that she would have spent a total of 328 days in space by that time.

Christina Koch is participating in research aimed at understanding how the human body works during extended time in microgravity and how to mitigate bad effects proceeding from it, in preparation for future missions to the Moon and Mars.