At 15:14 Eastern Time (Pi time on Pi Day), Christina Koch launched towards the International Space Station and the story aboard the Soyuz MS-12 Spacecraft from Kazakhstan.
She was joined by fellow astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexy Ovhinin on the relatively short six-and-a-half hour flight before docking with the ISS around 8:45 pm
On March 29, Koch is scheduled to join Anne McClain during the first all-female spacewalk in history.
In an interview last month, Koch credited his education in rural Jacksonville, North Carolina, as one of the reasons he became interested in space.
"Growing up in the eastern part of North Carolina It was a beautiful place, and I consider it one of the many reasons why I became interested in things like space and exploration," Koch said. "The ocean, of course, is a beautiful thing in North Carolina that we had one of our treasures and, of course, NC State and all the opportunities there."
According to his NASA biography, Koch studied at NC State for his bachelor's degree in electronic and physical engineering before earning a master's degree in electrical engineering.
Koch is exciting for the experiments he will conduct on board the ISS.
"For some of the medical experiments we actually participate as subjects," he said. So, we're looking at some of the effects of microgravity on long-lasting space flyers to inform our study of the future design of Mars missions, so it's exciting and, of course, as a physicist and electrical engineer, I'm very excited about a lot of experiments of physical sciences that we will do. "
Fittingly, on March 1
At PARI (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute) in Brevard, the educational team is always looking for new ways to inspire young people to take an interest in science.
Koch hopes to contribute to NASA and l & # 39 "space exploration will help inspire the next generation.
" The thing that excites us most is that a North Carolina astronaut will travel to the International Space Station and be there for a while, "said Tim Delisle, officer field studies at PARI. "This is really exciting for us here, and we work with a lot of children who come to our site and are always looking for that inspirational figure who can reach and say that what I will do one day. "
PARI hosts a Redstone Rocket Engine, to which he collaborated another important woman in NASA history, Katherine Johnson. His contributions to the Mercury program were highlighted in the 2016 film "Hidden Figures."
Delisle hopes that Koch's contributions will help to highlight the many women who have contributed to the history of space science.
"One of the things we see is ignored a lot when we look at the curriculum that children are taught about space science and only the types of inspiration and role models is that, many times, the contributions of women in the field are left out and having something like this happen, hopefully, will begin to change, "said Delisle
Koch was selected by NASA in 2013 on a list of over 6,100 applications. She trained for this mission for five years.