DENVER, (KDVR) — It’s been nearly three weeks since Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren blasted off from Earth to their new home on the International Space Station.
Both astronauts have strong Colorado ties and admit they look forward to seeing their friends and family from afar, something they get to do about 16 times a day.
“We go around the Earth every 90 minutes,” Lindgren said. “It always feels great when we’re flying over Colorado.”
The astronauts are part of a seven-person crew that will spend roughly six months in space, focusing on scientific research involving health technologies and plant science.
“It has just been a dream come true up here,” Watkins said. “The earth is just even more gorgeous in person. It’s just been absolutely awesome.”
Watkins, a geologist is from Lafayette and graduated from Fairview High School in Boulder.
She is also the first Black woman to perform a mission on the ISS.
“I think that’s an important milestone for our country, for our agency, and for me. I’m just really grateful to be a part of a long legacy of Black astronauts that have come before me,” Watkins said. “I think it’s a testimony to the future ahead.”
Lindgren graduated from the Air Force Academy before receiving a master’s degree from Colorado State University and a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Colorado. FOX31’s Evan Kruegel asked Lindgren how being a doctor in space is different than here on earth.
“We have a small set of equipment and medications so we can manage some minor things, but major things would require an evacuation and definitive medical care on the ground,” he said. “For the most part, I hope to remain unemployed as a physician up here.”
Both say life on-board the station is a bit different every day, but they try to keep routines, such as eating meals together and holding daily briefings together.
“It’s always amazing to look out the window and look back at Earth where our friends and family live,” Lindgren said.
Both are part of NASA’s Artemis Mission, which aims to send humans back to the moon in the next few years.