By Bryant Reed | October 12, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT – Updated October 12 at 11:56 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – While launches into space become more common with companies like Space-X, gone are the days of celebrity astronauts. Except for one record-setting astronaut who was raised along the North Carolina coast.
Christina Koch and fellow astronaut Jessica Meir became the first to do an all-female spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. Koch set the benchmark for the longest spaceflight for a woman, 328 days, now her accomplishments in space are being recognized here on earth.
“With that honor comes a responsibility that I’m really excited to be able to carry-on with,” said Koch.
Together, Koch and Meir made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2020.
“That tells me it’s definitely time to take my responsibilities seriously as someone who’s in this position to inspire the next generation of explorers and to be an actual positive influence for people,” said Koch.
Koch was raised in North Carolina and childhood nights spent staring up at the sky along the Carolina coast made her dream of being an astronaut. A goal many people would find impossible, but sometimes when you shoot for the stars, you make it.
“Do what scares you,” said Koch. “Of course I don’t mean take unnecessary risks or anything like that but what I mean is identify those things that intrigue you but you might feel like are just outside of your reach or they sound too intimidating for you to actually do them. And if you go for those things, its often a path that is after your passions but it’s going to lead you to the most reward because you find you can achieve more than you ever thought you could. It leads you to rise to more challenges rather than shy away from them.”
Koch says she is still adjusting to life back on Earth and the gravity of being one of the world’s most influential people. But looks forward to fueling the next generation to even greater heights.
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