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NC Native To Join All-Female Spacewalk

Victor Zelentsov

A North Carolina native is set to launch to the International Space Station today. She's part of a team scheduled to make the first all-female spacewalk.

Christina Koch, who grew up in Jacksonville, is a graduate of North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham and North Carolina State University's engineering program.

She told NASA TV she didn't see many examples of female engineers while she was growing up.

Credit NASA /
Christina H. Koch studied engineering at NC State University. She is scheduled to participate in the first all-female team spacewalk.

"But I found that I was good at science and math and it just became a natural progression for me to eventually want to be an engineer," said Koch. "I give a lot of credit to my dad who kept me working with him out in the workshop. We were always creating something, building something, so I think my love for engineering kind of sprouted from that."

Today's scheduled space flight is to be Koch's first. She will travel to the International Space Station to conduct research and upgrade equipment, "which can include spacewalks, it includes using our robotic systems to capture visiting cargo vehicles, and all kinds of other dynamic operations on board," said Koch. "So the day-to-day can be anywhere from heading out in a space suit to do a space walk, to tinkering with some lab equipment.

She is set to join NASA astronaut Anne McClain, a Spokane, Washington native, on the historic two-women space walk.

Koch said she would be carrying emblems from both N.C. State and North Carolina School of Science and Math up to the ISS. That's to honor her teachers and other school staff who believed in her, she said.


Lisa Philip is an occasional contributor to WUNC. Previously, she covered education for the station and covered schools in Howard County, Maryland for the Baltimore Sun newspapers.
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