RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Astronaut Christina Koch helped launch “Red and White Week” at North Carolina State University on Monday.
Koch, who’s a three-time graduate of N.C. State, is making her alma mater proud.
She made history by completing the first-ever all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station, as well as breaking the record for the longest time a woman has been in space at 328 days.
“To be the person that got to actually fulfill those missions out there was just a dream come true,” Koch said. “Something that I hope allows me to thank the people that came before me – the trailblazers – many of whom I met here at N.C. State or learned of during my time here.”
Despite these achievements, Koch said accomplishing them took a team effort from everyone at NASA.
“These records and milestones aren’t about any one person,” Koch said “They’re actually about the fact that we collectively realize that when we do this, we have to go for all and by all, and that means representing every single person that’s willing to work hard to achieve exploration of any kind, but especially human space flight.”
Koch says she hopes other people continue to break these records.
“I’m happy to say, and I continue to say, I can’t wait for these milestones to become normal, for the records to be broken,” she said. “It’s just exciting to see us continue to push those boundaries.”
Koch and three other astronauts will head to the moon in late 2024 as part of the Artemis II mission. She’s working as a mission specialist.
“Artemis differs from [the Apollo missions] in that even though we’re going back to the moon, this time we’re going back to stay,” Koch said. We’re going back responsibly and sustainably, and we’re going to take the lessons we learn there and carry them forward to human missions to Mars.”
Her crew will be the first group of people to go to the moon in 50 years.