The first Mexican to travel to space
Katya Echazarreta has become the first Mexican to fly into space, thanks to the Blue Origin mission.
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Katya Echazarreta has made history. At 26 years old, she has become the first person born in Mexico to fly into space, and is also the youngest American to have completed the feat.
The electrical engineer traveled to space thanks to being selected, among 7,000 applicants from around 100 countries, to take part in the fifth private mission to space by Blue Origin.
Echazarreta traveled more than 100 kilometers above the Earth with the five other crew members.
“I want to dedicate this flight to my country and to the entire Latin American community. My wish is that you see this mission, believe in yourself, and know that you can be the next,” she said in a video posted on Blue Origin's social media before the mission.
The crew members boarded an 18-meter-long rocket and experienced the sensation of being outside the field of gravity. Subsequently, the capsule detached from the rocket, descended and landed softly thanks to a parachute.
Most of the crew members had to pay to participate in the mission, but Katya's seat was sponsored by the Space for Humanity organization, which seeks to expand access to space for all of humanity, taking into account that 600 people who have flown into space, and only 6% are Black, Indigenous or Latino.
Blue Origin is an aerospace transportation and tourism company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. It was founded in 2000 to perform suborbital and orbital flights for U.S. missions, and private flights.
Who is Katya Echazarreta?
Echazarreta was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when she was only seven years old.
“Growing up in the U.S. was difficult at first due to the language barrier, but I worked hard and was a fluent English speaker within two years. My mom instilled a strong work ethic in me since childhood and always encouraged me to follow my passions. Space, math, astronomy, and physics have interested me for as long as I can remember and I never lost sight of that growing up,” she notes in her biography, posted on her website.
She studied Electrical Engineering at UCLA, and later worked on five NASA missions, including Perseverance and Europa Clipper. Echazarreta is currently pursuing a Masters in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The young science professional hopes to inspire and open more paths for women, who aim to conquer spaces in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector.
She co-hosts the YouTube series Netflix IRL and Electric Kat on the CBS show Mission Unstoppable. With the work, she hopes to promote engineering education and help close gaps between students and young professionals.