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Science & Technology

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Alumna Launches Into Space

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Alumna and astronaut Megan McArthur, in blue flight suit, taken in Bldg. 5 Motion Based Simulator.
NASA
Scripps Institution of Oceanography Alumna and astronaut Megan McArthur, in blue flight suit, taken in Bldg. 5 Motion Based Simulator.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Alumna Megan McArthur blasted off into space early Friday morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As part of the NASA SpaceX Crew-2 mission McArthur piloted the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, where she and three other astronauts will spend the next six months as part of the station’s crew.

Her fellow crew members are Spacecraft Commander Shane Kimbrough, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Alumna Launches into Space

Bill Hodgkiss, Emeritus Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, met McArthur back in the mid-1990’s when she was a graduate student at Scripps Institution.

“She sort of had two parallel interests. She was really interested in the ocean, but has maintained an interest in aerospace engineering,” Hodgkiss said.

While in the orbiting lab, McArthur will have to repair instruments, protect them from the environment and operate a lot of the equipment remotely, just like she did on ocean research.

McArthur’s dream of piloting into space comes on the 20th anniversary of Sally Ride Science @ UC San Diego, which focuses on STEM instruction for girls.

Edward Abeyta, Associate Dean of Education at UC San Diego Extension, describes how inspiring McArthur’s launch is to young females.

“We’re becoming the farm system for the next generation of astronauts and STEM fields," Abeyta said. "Not to mention UC San Diego graduates more STEM majors for women in STEM than any other college in the country.”

Dr. Sally Ride was the first American woman to fly in space and paved the way for female astronauts like Megan McArthur.

“She broke through not just being able to be an incredible scientist, but she paved the way for women’s rights and other things that were in the equity realm,” Abeyta added.

This mission will mark McArthur’s first visit to the Space Station and her second trip to space.