Houston native to launch into space
On Tuesday in Houston, flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Texas will watch as astronaut Shannon Walker becomes the first Houston native to launch into space.
Houston may have been the home to NASA's Mission Control and the hub of U.S. human spaceflight program for more than 40 years, but the Texas metropolis has never produced a hometown astronaut. That is, until now.Skip to next paragraph
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On Tuesday, June 15 at 4:35 p.m. local time in Houston, flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Texas will watch as astronaut Shannon Walker becomes the first Houston native to launch into space.
Walker, 45, is headed to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft set to launch from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where the local time will be early June 16 at launch.
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Walker will be joined by fellow NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin on the planned Soyuz TMA-19 flight. They are scheduled to spend six months aboard the orbiting space station once they arrive on Thursday to join three other Expedition 24 crewmembers already living on the station.
Walker joined NASA in 1987 as a space shuttle flight controller. She attended Rice University, majoring in physics, and joined the space agency after meeting and interviewing with former space shuttle flight director and current senior NASA executive Wayne Hale.
"It was a stroke of luck how it happened," said Walker.