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NC Astronaut Christina Koch Discusses How She Made It To International Space Station

Astronaut Christina Koch, who grew up in Jacksonville, NC, works aboard the International Space Station.

Astronaut Christina Koch spends her free time taking pictures of earth from 254 miles away aboard the International Space Station. She told Our State magazine's Jeremy Markovich that growing up on North Carolina's coast in Jacksonville helped lead her to space.

"The ocean is one of the first places I look to for inspiration because in addition to the night sky and the beauty of the universe, the ocean is another thing that makes us feel small and ponder our place in the universe and it kind of ignites that spirit of wonder and exploration," Koch said.

Koch has been in space since March. She’s scheduled to stay on the International Space Station until February, which would give her the record for the longest ever spaceflight by a woman.

Koch is a graduate of  the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, where she says she realized "the harder I worked the more rewarding the gains were."

She went on to North Carolina State and became a scientist. Koch worked in remote places such as Samoa, Antarctica and Alaska before achieving her dream of becoming an astronaut. Koch says she's had a lot of support along the way.

"No one ever discouraged the girl from North Carolina that had a dream to become an astronaut, and I think that was the most important," she said.

This story was adapted from an episode of "Away Message," a podcast about North Carolina from Our State magazine.