Cambridge alumna to fly to the International Space Station on her first-ever spaceflight

 NASA astronaut Kayla Barron in the Blue Flight Control Room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

University of Cambridge alumna and NASA astronaut Kayla Barron will experience her first spaceflight when she serves as a mission specialist for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station next month.

Targeted to launch no earlier than October 31, the Gates Cambridge Scholar will join NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, as the mission’s commander and pilot, respectively, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who also will serve as a mission specialist.

This will be the third crew rotation mission on SpaceX’s human space transportation system and its fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, to the space station through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

When the astronauts arrive at the orbiting laboratory, they will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month science mission. The crew will have a slight overlap with the Crew-2 astronauts, who arrived April 24. Increasing the total number of astronauts aboard the station enables the agency to boost the number of science investigations conducted in the unique microgravity environment.

Kayla Barron became a NASA astronaut in January 2020 after completing two years of training. The American achieved a Master's degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge, where she conducted research on modelling the fuel cycle for a next generation, thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor concept. Kayla was a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. Lieutenant commander Barron earned her submarine warfare officer qualification and deployed three times while serving aboard the USS Maine. At the time of her selection as an astronaut candidate in 2017, Kayla was serving as the flag aide to the superintendent of the US Naval Academy.

Image:  NASA astronaut Kayla Barron in the Blue Flight Control Room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Reproduced courtesy of University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering


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The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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