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First female astronaut chosen for a lunar mission has roots to Montana



Billings, Montana – The first mission to transport a crew to the moon’s vicinity since 1972 will be NASA’s Artemis II mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2024.

Christina Koch will become history as the first female astronaut to travel to the moon out of the four people chosen to travel on the Orion spacecraft. Victor Glover, the chosen pilot for the trip, will become history’s first black astronaut to travel to the moon.

“If we are going to answer humanity’s call to explore, we are going to need to do it for all and by all. We are actually more successful, and this is shown by research when all ideas that come from hard work, skill, and talent are allowed on the table. Where everyone who dares to dream and is willing to work hard for that dream has a place at the table,” Koch said recently.

NASA has employed Koch as an astronaut since 2013. She took part in the first all-female spacewalk and set the record for the longest solo space trip by a woman.

“What many people don’t know is that that spacewalk was extremely special in and of itself because it was a contingency spacewalk. It was never planned; we went out there to fix something that had broken…And no one had expected that to happen. What normally takes years to develop a spacewalk, we did in one week,” she said.

Koch was a resident of Livingston just before being chosen as a NASA astronaut.

“I drove my Honda Civic from Livingston to Houston, Texas when I became an astronaut. So, I miss the mountains. I miss the adventure there. I have great friends there. I do return, I try to get back at least every year to see people and get some time in the mountains,” Koch said. “I learned to ice climb in Montana, which I really loved. It’s a huge challenge and I think taking on challenges like that actually helped in what became an astronaut career.”

On Artemis II, mission specialists Koch and Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency will serve. Reid Wiseman will serve as the commander.

The 10-day Artemis II mission is scheduled to fly once around the moon without touching down.

“As we go forward, everything we train on, how can we make this mission most successful and it’s going to take a lot of teamwork. And it’s going to take thinking outside the box and that to me is a really exciting challenge,” Koch said. “Do what scares you. If there is something out there that scares you, it’s probably intriguing to you. It’s probably something that you think is just outside of your reach. But when you go for that and whether you fail along the way and eventually achieve it, you will find the most fulfillment.”

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