April 3 (UPI) — When the Artemis II mission is launched by NASA the following year, astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, who is currently serving as a flight engineer on the International Space Station and holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a female, will become the first woman to orbit the moon. Koch will do so as part of the Artemis II mission.
On Monday, it was announced that astronaut Christina Koch will be part of the team of four people from the United States and Canada who will travel around the moon. Koch, who was given the role of mission specialist, will be joined on the mission by astronauts from the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, including G. Reid Wiseman and Victor J. Glover Jr., who will make history as the first person of colour to orbit the moon, according to an announcement made by NASA and the Johnson Space Center on Monday in Houston, Texas.
In a video posted by NASA on Monday, Koch was quoted as saying, “When I first found out I was assigned to Artemis II, my thoughts were disbelief, an immense sense of honour and responsibility, and readiness; ready to try to make everyone proud and to really fulfil what this mission truly means for all humanity.” Koch’s comments were in response to the news that he would be serving on Artemis II.
Koch spent his childhood in Jacksonville, Florida, and received his education at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham before enrolling at North Carolina State University. Koch was appointed an astronaut in the year 2013. Koch has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 2019, she addressed graduates of NC State University while she was aboard the International Space Station.
Koch advised the grads, “Don’t think there’s just one method to accomplish your dreams or a series of boxes you have to tick through life,” as they were receiving their degrees. “Let your life be guided by the things that you are most interested in and passionate about.”
After working as an electrical engineer at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Koch enrolled in the NASA Academy programme at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2001. Koch was one of the eight people chosen to be a part of the 21st class of NASA astronauts in 2013. Koch became an astronaut in 2013. 2015 was the year when she finished her training to become an astronaut candidate.
“For the most part, I can’t remember a period of my life when I wasn’t interested in being an astronaut. Ever since I can remember, this is the kind of thing I’ve always pictured myself doing “Koch stated this on Monday.
During Expeditions 59, 60, and 61 aboard the International Space Station, Koch was the flight engineer. Her maiden trip in orbit, which took place aboard the International Space Station and lasted for an extended period of time, was scheduled to begin in 2018. Koch set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman when she blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a Soyuz spacecraft on March 14, 2019, and returned to Earth on February 6, 2020. She also set a record for the second longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, following in the footsteps of retired astronaut Scott Kelly. Koch was away from Earth for a total of 328 days, which prompted her to share a video of her rescue dog’s excited reaction to her return when she was finally back on Earth.
Koch also participated in a total of six space walks during the time that she was stationed at the International Space Station (ISS). These space walks include the first all-female spacewalk, which NASA at first cancelled because it did not have enough woman-sized space suits. In the end, Koch was the one who participated in the spacewalk alongside male astronaut Nick Hague while wearing one of the medium-sized spacesuits.
NASA stated in March of 2019 that Koch will be the one to wear the medium-sized torso because only one could be completed in time for Friday.
During their time aboard the International Space Station, Koch and the other members of her crew participated in hundreds of experiments designed to further knowledge in the fields of Earth science, physical science, biology, human study, and technology.
Koch reflected on her time spent in Ghana nearly two decades ago when she posted a picture on her Instagram account in 2019 showing the Ghanaian flag floating in space.
“When I was 20 years old, I went to the University of Ghana to pursue my education abroad. It was a great event that changed my life and deepened my viewpoint, similar to going into space “Koch wrote.
One year later, Koch assisted Nickelodeon in the launch of the children’s cable network’s first film of the network’s trademark green slime in orbit. Koch and another member of the group were able to stick the slime to a paddle board by spinning it in the air while holding it there. Despite the absence of gravity, they were unable to dump it on top of each other’s heads.
Koch remarked that “playing with slime in space is considerably more enjoyable than I expected it would be,” in addition to being “way more unpredictable.” “Much as with all of the other scientific work that we perform, it is not possible to do these tests on Earth; you require zero gravity to witness some of this behaviour.”
When Koch uploaded her final snapshot of Earth in a tweet in 2020 as she returned from the International Space Station, she was met with backlash from people who believe in the existence of a flat Earth. Some of the responses she received included the phrases “false photograph” and “great fake curvature.”
And Koch continued to post her images from her flights, including one that was reminiscent of a painting by Vincent van Gogh and featured a starry night that Koch had taken while aboard the International Space Station.
“City lights, stars, lightning storms, and even satellite flares — this is a composite of separate photographs built on top of each other to depict all of the incredible things that we view when we look out our window at night.”
While Koch will be part of the Artemis II crew that will orbit the moon in 2024, it is anticipated that a different crew, which will not be named, would land on the moon in 2025.
Koch expressed excitement about the opportunity to collaborate with the other members of the Artemis II team on Monday.
“They all have a military history and I come from a more raw technical engineering background, and I think it complements each other extremely well,” Koch said. “I come from a more raw technical engineering background.” “I believe that we will work together very well, and I hope to be someone on the crew who is truly that engineering specialist. I also hope that this can be the way that I give the most.”
Even though she would be away from her family and husband for an extended period of time, Koch has stated that she hopes to be selected for a mission to Mars in the far future.
In an interview in 2016, she stated, “For Mars, I’d ask my family and friends to make small surprises for me to open on certain days.” “For Mars, I’d ask my family and friends to make small surprises for me to open on designated dates.” After being gone for 15 months, receiving a card that was penned by you can be the finest thing that could ever happen.