An NC State flag is displayed in the cupola of the International Space Station in orbit above the Earth.

Live From the International Space Station

On Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, NASA astronaut and NC State alumna Christina Koch answered students' questions in a live video downlink from the International Space Station.

If you’ve ever wondered how astronauts do scientific research in microgravity, what it feels like to blast off into space or how it’s possible to fall asleep while floating in midair, this might be your chance to find out!

On Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, NC State University and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics held a live video Q&A with NASA astronaut Christina Koch, an alumna of both institutions serving as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. During the Q&A, Koch answered questions from students at both schools. The video downlink was hosted on NC State’s campus, in Talley Student Union’s State Ballroom. View the conversation with Koch in the player below.

In addition to the downlink from the space station, the program featured a keynote address by NC State astrophysicist Katie Mack, titled “From the Lab to the Universe: Studying Physics to Explore the Cosmos.” After the Q&A with Koch, audience members participated in a moderated discussion with a panel of NC State faculty experts in astrophysics and engineering:

  • Laura Bottomley, director of Women in Engineering and the Engineering Place
  • Brand Fortner, teaching professor, Department of Physics (moderator)
  • Katie Mack, assistant professor, Department of Physics, and member of the Leadership in Public Science interdisciplinary faculty cluster
  • Steve Reynolds, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, Department of Physics

On the day of the downlink, NC State and NCSSM clubs and organizations devoted to rocketry, robotics, physics, engineering and astronomy hosted interactive exploration stations throughout Talley Student Union.

You can view the entire program of events, including Mack’s keynote address and the expert panel discussion, here.

About Christina Koch

Official portrait of astronaut Christina Koch

Christina Hammock Koch was born in Michigan and grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina. After graduating from NCSSM in 1997, Koch earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics from NC State in 2001, and she earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from NC State in 2002. NASA selected Koch as an astronaut in 2013, and she completed astronaut candidate training in 2015.

Koch is currently working onboard the International Space Station on her first spaceflight as part of Expeditions 59 and 60 and the upcoming Expedition 61, scheduled for October 2019. She is slated to set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, with an expected total of 328 days in space.