A North Carolina State University graduate is taking off Thursday for the International Space Station, where she is expected to make history.
Christina Koch is an astronaut and crew member on Expedition 59, according to NASA. She’s expected to be in the “first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers” later this month, NASA said.
Koch’s alma mater is celebrating her first flight into space with a 3:14 p.m. launch viewing in Engineering Building II, according to an N.C. State website post.
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“She’ll take a few trinkets for the two state institutions where she received the bulk of her education before she entered the space program, the North Carolina School of Science and Math and NC State,” the university said.
Among those items is a “custom designed printed circuit ... featuring (an) astronaut version of the ‘Circuit Wolf’ icon, N.C. State said.
Koch, who was raised in Jacksonville, will be a flight engineer during the six-month mission, according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.
“Just growing up in eastern N.C. it was a beautiful place and I count that as one of the many reasons I became interested in things like space and exploration.,” she said, according to the station.
In 2013, NASA says it chose Koch and seven other people to be in its astronaut class. They were chosen out of more than 6,100 applicants, according to a press release.
Koch said she hopes to inspire people to go after their passions and “couldn’t feel more ready” for the launch, according to N.C. State.
The International Space Station is a laboratory that orbits the Earth, according to NASA. Koch will also serve on Expedition 60, the agency said.