A former Livingston resident and NASA Astronaut is headed to outer space after being selected as one of four for the Artemis II Mission, NASA shared with MTN News last month.
Christina Hammock Koch will take part in a 21-day flight around the moon, she explained.
“The training is extensive, but the neat thing about a developmental mission, as the first people to ever be on Orion, is that the training won't just be us executing a well-established plan and jumping through all the hoops and passing all the exams," Koch said.
Designers, engineers, operations, and developers collaborate to identify the best way to conduct the mission, "and how we can most integrate with their team as we're conducting the mission to make it as successful as possible; to make sure that we learn every possible thing we can to enable success for the next mission, which is actually gonna land on the moon,” Koch said.
NASA selected Koch to be the engineering expert on the trip, which means she will respond to the unexpected.
“What that means is supporting the people that are the leaders of a mission," she described. "It's also a way of leading in and of itself. Being a good follower means making sure that the commander and pilot are aware of everything they need to be; that we have a system, that all operations for everyone in the vehicle are coordinated well and optimized.”
Koch once lived in Livingston.
“I would love to move back. I miss it. I drove my Honda Civic from Livingston to Houston, Texas when I became an astronaut. I miss the mountains. I miss the adventure there," she reflected.
Koch says she tries to make it back to her old stomping grounds at least once a year, remembering her time fondly.
“I learned to ice climb in Montana, which I really love. It's a huge challenge, and I think taking on challenges like that actually helped in what became an astronaut career," Koch said.
Artemis II will take off in November 2024.
Watch the full interview below: