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Watch: Astronaut reunited with dog after year in space

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

A record-setting astronaut who was born in Michigan returned to Earth along with two of her crew mates earlier this month and no one is more excited than her best friend: her dog.

Christina Koch, who set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, returned on Feb. 6 from the International Space Station along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, officials said.

Astronaut Christina Koch

The three made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 4:12 a.m. in Kazakhstan.

A day before returning, she shared a photo from the Space Station saying she'll miss "the exquisite beauty" of planet Earth from above.

On Thursday, she shared a heart-warming video reuniting with her family dog, Sadie Lou, saying, "Glad she remembers me after a year!"

Koch was born in Grand Rapids. After leaving Michigan, she grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina and later lived in Livingston, Montana. She graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina where she received her masters in science and electrical engineering.

She graduated from NASA's Academy program at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2001 and after more than a decade of hard work, she was selected in 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft Thursday just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area in Kazakhstan. Koch returned to Earth after logging 328 days in space, the longest spaceflight in history by a woman.

She was assigned to her first space flight, a long-duration mission on the International Space Station, in 2018.

She completed 5,248 orbits of the Earth and a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She also conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all-woman spacewalks, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the space station.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_