Jessica Meir, 40, will soar some 220 miles above the Earth to the International Space Station on Sept. 25 with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and Emirati astronaut Hazz Al Mansouri, NASA announced Wednesday morning. It will mark her first spaceflight. She will return to Earth in spring 2020.
Meir, the valedictorian of Caribou High School’s Class of 1995, was among three women and four men selected from 6,100 applicants in 2013 for NASA’s 21st class of astronauts and to begin training for future space flights. That came only four years after Meir first applied but was rejected for NASA’s 20th class of astronauts.
“It didn’t work out for me that time,” Meir told students at Caribou High School in 2016. “I was told that I did a great job and that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I wasn’t selected. At that point, I could have easily given up and decided not to apply again because I didn’t want to get rejected again. …
“Luckily, I stuck to it and persevered. Just in the back of my head, knowing that it was the dream I’ve had for my entire life, I couldn’t not apply. I just wasn’t prepared to give up on it yet.”
In many ways, Meir selection to join the space program began very early in her life. Meir participated in the space camp at Purdue University in Indiana before starting her freshman year at Caribou High School, and she also took part in a six-week summer camp at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida between her sophomore and junior years at Brown University in Rhode Island.
“I have been very interested in science from a young age,” Meir told the BDN in 2013. “I was mostly interested in biology and physiology and always interested in space flight, so I involved myself in as many space-related activities as I could.”