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SD City College alumna to soar into space Saturday aboard Blue Origin rocket

San Diego City College alumna Katya Echazarreta is set to strap into a rocket on Saturday and become the first Mexico-born woman to travel in space.

Blue Origin, the space rocket and tourism company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, says that its New Shepard rocket will launch from Texas on a sub-orbital mission that will last about 11 minutes.

Lift-off is scheduled for 6 a.m. Pacific time and will be streamed live at blueorigin.com.

The rocket will travel three times faster than the speed of sound and soar 62 miles high, reaching the point where space begins.

Echazarreta, a 26-year-old engineer, will be accompanied by astronaut Evan Dick, Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding, civil production engineer Victor Correa Hespanha and Dream Variation Ventures co-founder Jaison Robinson.

When Echazarreta learned last month that she will be making the trip, she put her hands on her face, laughed, cried, then told an interviewer, “My mom is going to freak out …”

She later told a second interviewer that her mom “is so excited that she tried to go and get T-shirts made, she’s trying to find some matching rings for her, my sister and I, that I can take to space and get them engraved. She is just over the moon right now.”

Echazarreta was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and later moved to San Diego, where she attended San Diego City College. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and is currently working on a master’s in engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

She will became the latest in a long list of people with San Diego ties to travel in space. In just the past few years three UC San Diego graduates — Megan McArthur, Kate Rubins and Jessica Meir — served on the International Space Station as NASA astronauts.

Meir is scheduled to give UCSD’s commencement address on June 11.



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