New in the collection: NC astronaut on pinback

Pinback button featuring a photo of female astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

“There were plenty of emotional moments that [Christina] Koch didn’t expect, especially when she looked down at Earth and saw a thin line of land jutting into the Atlantic that she could follow up the mouth of the New River to her hometown and her home state.

” ‘The biggest surprise I had was how amazing it was to look down and see North Carolina,’ Koch says. ‘I thought it would be kind of neat, but it had a deeper impact on me to see all the places that formed my memories, the place that formed me, to see the place where all the people who supported me and my dream to becPinback button featuring a photo of female astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.ome an astronaut lived.

“ ‘It was a profound, perspective-changing moment that I was unprepared for.’ ”

— From “Space, the Final Frontier” by Tim Peeler at NC State News (Jan. 31, 2023)

NC State alumna Koch (left) and Jessica Meir made history by completing the first ever all-female spacewalk.

R.I.P., chimp who began our journey to outer space

On this day in 1983: The first hominid in outer space, the chimpanzee Ham, dies at age 26 at the North Carolina Zoo. Although he lived the past two years at the zoo, his remains will be buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamagordo, N.M.

Ham’s 1958 flight from Cape Canaveral aboard a Mercury-Redstone rocket lasted 16 minutes, 39 seconds, and paved the way for the launch of America’s first human astronaut, Alan Shepard, in 1961.