Bristol alumnus in space


By James Cleaver, Online News Editor

Lieutenant Colonel Anne McClain, an alumnus of the University of Bristol, was launched into space today on the 100th orbital flight of the year.

McClain, 39, studied International Relations at the University of Bristol for the academic year 2005-2006. Her study into the security burden in developing countries earned her a distinction for her master’s degree at the University. It is her first mission to space.

She joins two other astronauts on a Russian Soyuz rocket, launched from Kazakhstan, bound for the International Space Station, where they will spend six months.

There, the three astronauts, who will comprise Expedition 58, will work on ‘experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science’ in an environment not possible on Earth, according to NASA.

McClain, who is originally from Washington, also obtained a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Bath in 2004-2005 and spent time as a helicopter pilot during the Iraq War.

The crew is expected to be present on the International Space Station when Boeing conducts its first unmanned test flights to the ISS. It is the first time 100 orbital launches have taken place in a year since 1990.

The launch on 3 November was the first one by a manned Russian craft since a failed attempt on 11 October, where two astronauts were forced to make an emergency landing.

Featured image: Alexander Gerst / Flickr

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