Jessica Meir dreamed of the day she would make it to space since the age of five. That dream became a reality on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 as she left Earth on her first spaceflight – later floating into her new home aboard the International Space Station. Jessica lifted off from Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft at 9:57 a.m. EDT (1357 GMT) alongside spaceflight participant Ali Almansoori, the first United Arab Emirates astronaut, and Oleg Skripochka, a Russian cosmonaut.
As an Expedition 61 and 62 crew member, Jessica will spend six months in the vacuum of space – conducting research on a multitude of science investigations and participating in several Human Research Program.
While Jessica’s new home is more than 200 miles over the Earth, she is no stranger to extreme environments. She studied penguins in Antarctica and mapped caves in Italy – both of which prepared her for the ultimate extreme environment: space.
Get to know astronaut and scientist, Jessica Meir.
Antarctic Field Researcher
For her Ph.D. research, Jessica studied the diving physiology of marine mammals and birds. Her filed research took her all the way to Antarctica, where she focused on oxygen depletion in diving emperor penguins. Jessica is also an Antarctic diver!
Jessica investigated the high‐flying bar-headed goose during her post‐doctoral research at the University of British Columbia. She trained geese to fly in a wind tunnel while obtaining various physiological measurements in reduced oxygen conditions.
Wilderness Survival Expert
In 2013, Jessica was selected as an Astronaut Candidate. While training to be a full-fledged astronaut, she participated in three days of wilderness survival training near Rangeley, Maine, which was the first phase of her intensive astronaut training program.
Mission Control Flight Controller
In our astronaut office, Jessica gained extensive mission control experience, including serving as the Lead Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for Expedition 47, the BEAM (Bigelow expandable module on the International Space Station) mission and an HTV (Japanese Space Agency cargo vehicle) mission. The CapCom is the flight controller that speaks directly to the astronaut crew in space, on behalf of the rest of the Mission Control team.
She’s reconnecting with her best friend… in space!
Following a successful launch to the space station, NASA astronaut Christina Koch tweeted this image of Jessica and the crew on their journey to the orbital lab in a Soyuz spacecraft. Excitement was high as Christina tweeted, “What it looks like from @Space_Station when your best friend achieves her lifelong dream to go to space. Caught the second stage in progress! We can’t wait to welcome you onboard, crew of Soyuz 61!”
We know. #FriendshipGoals.
Follow Jessica on Twitter at @Astro_Jessica and follow the International Space Station on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up with all the cool stuff happening on our orbital laboratory.
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