Australia's first first female astronaut has been selected as part of the European Space Agency's astronaut class of 2022.
University of New South Wales alumna, Dr Meganne Christian, was selected as one of 11 reservist astronauts from more than 22,500 eligible applicants.
Dr Christian is a materials scientist and atmospheric physicist. She came to Australia from the United Kingdom aged five and went to The Illawarra Grammar School in Wollongong, NSW.
In 2009 she received a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the university medal in industrial chemistry. In 2014 she received her doctorate from UNSW for research into hydrogen storage.
Dr Christian currently works at the Italian National Research Agency and has also done stints at the Antarctic research base at Concordia Station.
As a reservist astronaut, Dr Christian will retain her day job, but will receive a consultancy contract and astronaut training from the European Space Agency (ESA).
Head of Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said there is immense potential for Dr Christian’s achievement to inspire the next generation of young Australians.
“We often refer to space as the gateway to STEM because of its ability to ignite curiosity – and what does that more than knowing someone who grew up right here in Australia might one day end up in space," he said.
Dr Christian will represent the United Kingdom within the European Space Agency, having been born there and holding citizenship. Dr Christian is also a citizen of Italy and New Zealand.