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NC astronaut readies for research on International Space Station

February 23, 2019
Credit: NASA

Christina Hammock Koch is set to launch to the International Space Station in April 2019, as NASA recently announced her assignment to Expedition 59/60.

She will be joined by veteran cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka aboard a Soyuz spacecraft launching from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a six month stay.

Koch was born in Michigan but calls Jacksonville, North Carolina, home. She graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Math in 1997 and went on to North Carolina State University to earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Master of Science.

She began her NASA career as an Electrical Engineer at the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics.

She has contributed to instruments studying radiation particles for NASA missions, including Juno and the Van Allen Probes.

Koch is used to working in extremes. Working as a research associate in the United States Antarctic Program over the winter, she also served on the Firefighting Teams and Ocean/Glacier Search and Rescue Teams. News of her selection to the astronaut program came as she was studying ozone for NOAA in American Samoa.

Anne McClain and Nick Hague, fellow NASA astronaut candidates from the class of 2013, will be waiting for Koch when she arrives on station.

Hague will return to Earth about two weeks later while McCain continues to work with Koch for an additional three months with fellow Expedition 58 crew members cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Canadian David Saint-Jacques.

Tony Rice is a volunteer in the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program and software engineer at Cisco Systems.

You can follow him on Twitter @rtphokie.