Karen Nyberg

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Karen Nyberg

Birth: October 7, 1969

Specialty: Mechanical Engineering

Major Contributions:

50th Woman to Travel in space

Flew mission on Discovery to help build ISS

Total of 180 days in space

Image: Wikimedia.

Growing up with a drive to be an astronaut, Dr. Karen Nyberg kept that goal in mind while attending college at the University of North Dakota as she also worked as part of a cooperative education program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

After graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering she continued her education at the University of Texas at Austin earning MS and doctorate degrees. She began working at the Johnson Space Center full-time as an Environmental Control Systems Engineer in the Crew and Thermal Systems Division. Selected for the astronaut program in 2000 she began a rigorous two-year training and evaluation process after which she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations branch and acted as crew support for a mission to the International Space Station.

In May 2008 she was part of the crew of the STS-124 space shuttle flight aboard the Discovery and traveled to the ISS, docking with the station on June 2 to deliver an experiment module and a remote manipulator system.

During this mission the crew helped install parts of the station as it was still under construction, returning to Earth after 13 days in orbit. In May 2013 she returned to the ISS, this time aboard a Soyuz capsule for an extended period, spending nearly six months in space.

During her stay on the ISS, she participated in general maintenance as well as numerous scientific research projects. One of the programs she worked with was the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites – or SPHERES – three space-based satellites used as a research facility for interchangeable experiments onboard the gravity free environment of the space station.

After spending 180 days in space Dr. Nyberg shares some advice for those thinking about a future as an astronaut: “Start now. Start doing things that take you out of your comfort zone and always be your best.”

Since retiring from NASA in 2020 she has embraced an artistic side that she first showcased on the ISS when she sewed a stuffed dinosaur with leftover materials and introduced the world in the Astronomical Quilt Block Challenge. Inspired by photographs of Earth she captured while in space Nyberg has designed two collections of fabric prints, created a collection of quilt patterns, and has had her textile works featured at the National Quilt Museum.

Written by Angela Goad


Karen Nyberg

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Astronaut Karen Nyberg on readjusting to life on Earth

Wikipedia: Karen L. Nyberg

See Also:

Facebook: Astronaut Karen Nyberg

Twitter @AstroKarenN

Pinterest: Karen Nyberg