Katherine Bennell-Pegg: Blazing a Trail to Become Australia’s First Female Astronaut

Australian Space Agency employee Katherine Bennett-Pegg is halfway through her astronaut training at Germany’s top-rated EAC (European Astronaut Centre) on her way to becoming Australia’s first female cosmonaut.

Bennell-Pegg’s Quest for the Stars

Out of more than 22,000 applicants, astronaut training is one of the most rigorous programs available. It requires physical training and a year’s worth of study. It’s no wonder why so many people want to be an astronaut. 

However, this isn’t the first time she’s faced a challenge. The mother of two moved her whole family to Europe for astronaut training, showing her commitment to the cause.

The second half of the training will be a challenge, with rigorous drills, sea survival exercises, robotic arm simulations from the space station, centrifuge training, and basic medical procedures. Basic medical procedures are essential for any astronaut, as they are often the first responders in the event of a medical emergency in space. In this way, she will help advance medical research by observing her body’s response to weightlessness. Weightlessness can speed up the development of bone loss or muscle degeneration.

Building bridges for future generations

Prior to this, she worked as Director Space Technology at Australian Space Agency (ASA) where she focused on Space Robotics and Automation. During her time at ASA, she also completed an intensive training programme at NASA (Nasa) in Houston to further develop her skills. In addition, she had the opportunity to meet Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kevin Rudd in Washington DC.

Bennell-Pegg isn’t just focused on her personal achievements, however. She sees her experience as a springboard for future Australian researchers, engineers and operators in space technology. She hopes her groundbreaking journey can inspire and encourage others to dream bigger than the world around us.