Jacksonville's Christina Koch will be the first woman astronaut to reach deep space aboard Artemis II mission
An eastern North Carolina engineer and astronaut will be the first woman in deep space.
NASA Director Bill Nelson said, ““She's an engineer who got her start at Goddard (Space Flight Center) and is no stranger to breaking records, logging the longest continuous Space Flight ever by a woman. Your mission specialist, Christina Hammock Koch.”
Koch grew up in Jacksonville, and spent 328 days on the International Space Station in 2020 – the longest space flight ever for a woman – and also participated in the first all-female spacewalks.
Koch said the question she anticipates most after she was chosen is whether she’s excited.
“It will be a four day journey going a quarter of a million miles, continuing to test out every bit of Orion, going around the far side of the moon, heading home, going through the Earth's atmosphere at over 25,000 mph and splashing down in the Pacific. So, am I excited?” she said, “Absolutely.”
And she hopes others will share in that excitement.
“The one thing I'm most excited about is that we are going to carry your excitement, your aspirations, your dreams with us on this mission. Artemis II. Your mission.”
Artemis II is scheduled to lift off in 2024. It will see the four-person crew go around the moon but not land.