NASA astronaut, NC native ready for first space flight in March


DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — NASA astronaut and North Carolina native Christina Koch is about to embark on her first space flight.

The NC State graduate will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan for a mission to the International Space Station on March 14.

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Koch will serve with the crew for about six months as a flight engineer.

“We have experiments in many different arenas of science numbering in the couple hundreds in our mission,” Koch explained.

“There are quite a few, many types in physical sciences, biological sciences, medical and human research, technology demonstrations and all kinds of things in that nature. Some earth science, space science.”

“So, it’s a wide variety kind of all the different things at NC State you can study,” she added. “For some of the medical experiments we actually get to participate as subjects, so we’re looking at some of the effects of microgravity on long-duration space fliers to inform our study of future Mars mission design so that’s exciting and of course as a physicist and electrical engineer, I’m very excited about a lot of the physical science experiments we’ll be doing.”

Koch grew up in Jacksonville and attended the N.C. School of Science and Math in Durham before earning two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s at NC State.

Read more here.