Episcopalian in space? Astronaut Kate Rubins will be tonight


The Napa Valley Register reports that Kate Rubins, 30 years old, a graduate of Stanford, a microbiologist and recent research fellow at MIT, has reported for astronaut training at NASA:

Two years from now, Rubins could join NASA’s astronaut corps as a mission specialist, making her eligible for flights to the International Space Station, the Moon or even Mars as the space shuttle program is being phased out. Future astronauts may even be in for deep space exploration.

Rubins and the other selected astronaut candidates are likely to join NASA’s astronaut corps, a group of about 100 active members, according to NASA’s Web site.

“We’ve never had one not make it,” NASA spokeswoman Nicole Cloutier said.

Rubins was selected for NASA’s 2009 Astronaut Candidate Class from a pool of 3,500 candidates.

Rubins is also the daughter of the Reverend Ann Hallisey, dean of students at Church Divinity School, who is married to another Episcopal clergy person, the Right Reverend Barry L. Beisner, Bishop of Northern California.

She credits her parents with her interest in space and science:

Rubins’ father, Jim Rubins, a social worker at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, said Kate also liked bugs, along with space and geology.

Kate Rubins, who credits her parents for her success, recalled that family’s activities included stargazing at Skyline Park and field trips to zoos and museums.

Seeing their 12-year-old daughter’s interest in space, her parents sent her to the week-long Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., home to the nation’s early rocket program.

NASA’s “Five Things to Know About Astronaut Kate Rubins” include:

Rubins helped to create therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses by conducting research collaboratively with the U.S. army. She also aided development of the first smallpox infection model with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NBD. It will be exciting to see the research come out of a mission with a world-class scientist using a world-class, out-of-this-world laboratory!


According to NASA, Rubins is to depart for the International Space Station tonight (read more here), during which trip she will be “the first person to sequence DNA in space.”

Photo from NASA site

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