Brown astronaut alumna ready for liftoff

A Soyuz rocket is scheduled to liftoff tomorrow morning will carry astronaut and Brown alumna Jessica Meir to the International Space Station.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University]—Jessica Meir, a class of 1999 alumna, is ready to liftoff to the International Space Station (ISS).

At 9:57 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 25, a Soyuz rocket lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will carry Meir, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and United Arab Emirates’ Hazzaa Ali Almansoori into orbit 250 miles above the Earth. The trio will dock with the ISS later that afternoon, around 3:45 Eastern Time.

The launch will be broadcast live http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv beginning at 9:00 a.m.

At a news conference today at the Kazakhstan, Meir said that as a scientist who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, she’s excited to finally be a part of the orbital side of ISS science. The crew will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.

“I always dreamed of being an astronaut from the time I was five years old,” she said. “It’s coming full circle from when I was the one organizing and helping organize the scientific experiments that we’re doing on the space station, to now being on the other side as a subject and an operator. And it’s really nice play a part in that for the scientists and really for the whole planet.”

Brown Space Engineering (BSE), a student group that launched a student-built satellite last year,  is planning a watch party for the launch in the Engineering Research Center’s Hazeltine Commons. "It's exciting for us to see the Brown space community expanding, and we're looking forward to following Jessica’s mission,” said McKenna Cisler, BSE’s technical lead.

Jim Head, a planetary scientist at Brown who has been involved in NASA’s astronaut training since the Apollo missions to the Moon, said he’s excited to follow Meir’s mission to the ISS, and he looks forward to watching her astronaut career grow.

“The NASA Artemis Program is committed to sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon,” Head said. “On the basis of my experience in training the Apollo Astronauts, Brown Graduate Jessica Meir is imminently qualified to be that first woman.”

The University is planning an opportunity for the Brown community to interact with Meir while she's in orbit. Details on that event will be made available in the coming days.