NewsPositively San Diego


UC San Diego alum piloting NASA's mission to International Space Station

Posted at 6:03 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 09:03:05-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego alumna Megan McArthur will be returning to space this week.

The NASA astronaut is the pilot of the four-person team partaking in the SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station. The team will spend six months on the ISS.

McArthur earned her Ph.D. in Oceanography from UC San Diego in 2002. It was during that timeframe that her career as an astronaut also began.

Her advisor at UCSD, Bill Hodgkiss, said he met her when she started the doctoral program in the mid-1990s. In 2000, she was in the final months of the degree, which tend to be the most intense, when she found out she had gotten into the astronaut program. Ultimately, she put her degree on pause to go through the astronaut training.

Hodgkiss said she then did something that was extremely difficult. She returned back to UCSD to finish her Ph.D. in 2002.

“I would not have expected that anyone would be able to do that. It is so hard to do, essentially managing two careers at the same time and I was really thankful that she wanted to do it and we could encourage her to do it and it all worked out,” said Hodgkiss.

McArthur went to space for her first time in 2009 as part of the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. That trip lasted 13 days.

When she was in San Diego, she was a volunteer diver at Birch Aquarium.

She is now married to a fellow astronaut.

This week’s launch is set for April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.