NC astronaut ready to soar

June 20, 2013 

Give the nod for the “best response to one’s daughter becoming an astronaut” to Dr. Ronald Hammock, a physician in Jacksonville in North Carolina’s coastal Onslow County. Proud that his daughter, Christina Hammock, N.C. State alum, had been chosen to be in NASA’s astronaut corps, member of the class of 2013, Hammock said, “When she goes into space, it’s dangerous. I want her back by 11 o’clock.”

Nice one, Doc. Christina Hammock, 34, now is working in American Samoa with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and she’s previously worked as a scientist in Alaska and Antarctica.

But she’ll be back in the U.S. of A. for two years training as an astronaut, in Houston.

“I’m overwhelmed but also very humbled to have been selected to such an important program and one that I believe in so much,” she said.

Hammock’s classmates and professors (she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at N.C. State) could have seen this coming. She studied physics and electrical engineering, and once went to school on a scholarship from a group of retired astronauts.

As a part of NASA, Hammock will be in the midst of planning for a mission to an asteroid in the 2020s and human missions to Mars in the 2030s. So says NASA.

Hmmmm... Perhaps NASA Administrator Charles Bolden might want to check with Dr. Hammock in Jacksonville. Not sure about the connecting flights, but it’s gonna be tough to get home from Mars by 11.

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