We all know about Christina Birch, the former 11-time track cycling national champion. Well, she has been handpicked by NASA to be in 2021’s class.
On December 6, NASA announced the new 10 candidates that will be enlisted in 2021’s class and Christina Birch is amongst them. According to NASA’s press release, this is the first new astronaut class in almost four years. As you can see, the candidates selected are highly competitive and come from esteemed backgrounds. The selection process was also over a whopping 12,000 candidates.
Apart from being a cyclist, Birch, 35, is filled with wonders and achievements. She has a bachelor’s degree in both mathematics, and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the University of Arizona. Apart from this, she also has a Ph.D. (Biological Engineering) from MIT. She also joined the main cycling team of the school and that is where her journey started.
She did not stop there, she also taught at two different places. First is bioengineering at the University of California and then communication and scientific writing at the California Institute Of Technology.
Before she started her Track Cycling journey, she used to do cyclocross racing with the JAM fund cycling team. Birch is a national champion as she secured 11 championships, in the Pan American Games she won two gold medals and even got herself a spot in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, these are all amazing feats surely.
Birch is also the co-founder of the initiative “Gravelnauts”. Being a gravel cyclist herself, alongside partner Ashton Lambie, she started this initiative to create more awareness. The purpose of Gravelnauts as told by Birch herself is to go off the beaten path, explore new areas and invent something new, even from their own backyards.
The revelation came from a social media post from Lambie, apparently, Birch knew on October 22 that she had been accepted into NASA’s program. Her training starts in January 2022 at the Johnson Space Center, and for that purpose, both of them have moved to Texas.
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Highlights from Lambie’s post were
You could say we’re over the moon about it, and we can’t wait to share more about everything.
Birch has a long way to go as her training will take around 2 years to be finished. A press release from NASA stated that she may be “assigned to missions that involve performing research aboard the space station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, as well as deep space missions to destinations including the Moon on NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket”.
Featured Image Via Instagram/bahamalongbottom