NASA astronaut Jessica Mayr launches her first space trip today (September 25) to embark on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Meir departed Kazakhstan on the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft at 9:57 am EDT (1357 GMT) with his fellow astronauts Hazza al-Mansouri, the first United Arab Emirates astronaut, and Oleg Skripochka, a Russian astronaut.
This afternoon a spaceship connects to a space station at 3:42 EDT (1942 GMT). Meir is ready to begin her mission with Expedition 61/62, where she will do various research and maintenance of the ship, along with eight other astronauts at the station.
"I'm incredibly excited. It's something I've been dreaming and thinking about my whole life for almost 5 years, so, still a little surreal at the moment to imagine it's finally coming true, "Meir told Space.com in the video above.
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"I think what I'm most excited about as a scientist is to understand more about all of these different effects of microgravity in space flight environment and participate as an operator and subject to a great variety of investigations, "she added. "I also look forward to the potential to make space travel, as this is really what I've always assumed to do really all my life."
Space station astronauts do a great variety of experiments. "You did all sorts of science out there, from those physiological experiments to the experiments on burning to the growth of protein crystals. Any kind of science, you say it, "Meir said. She noted that many of the experiments she will be working on will involve investigating how space flight affects human arteries.
This research "will be critical to our longer missions in the future when we return to the moon and when we go to Mars," said Meir.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch, aboard the space shuttle station, shared the excitement of launching a Soyuz crew together with a stunning trip photo, as seen from space, on Twitter . "What does @Space_Station look like when your best friend achieves the dream to go into space for a lifetime. Catch the second stage in progress! We can't wait to meet you aboard, the crew of the Union 61! "She said.
What does it look like at @Space_Station when your best friend achieves his lifelong dream of going into space? We are eager to welcome you aboard, crew of the Union 61! Pic.twitter.com/Ws7tInY58P records19459020 SAMSSeptember 25, 2019
Asked about NASA's Artemis program and how she would feel about being the first woman on the moon , Meir said definitively, "I would absolutely love to be the first woman on the moon. That would be my ideal mission. It's time to go back and the moon and I think we can do it in the near future and I would like to be the one on this mission, "she said.
Meir has a varied and complete history. Prior to that mission, she had earned a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's degree in space research, and a doctorate in marine biology. She has worked in human physiology research at the Lockheed Martin Human Research Center and has participated in NASA-reduced gravity research flights. Meir also studied geese with heads and worked as an aquavon in the NASA analog mission for extreme environmental operations (NEEMO).