Katherine Bennell-Pegg Is Australia’s First Female Astronaut

A remarkable accomplishment.
Katherine Bennell Pegg

39-year-old engineer and mother of two, Katherine Bennell-Pegg, has graduated from the European Space Agency (ESA) training program, making her Australia’s first female astronaut.

In fact, Bennell-Pegg is not only the first Australian woman to be a qualified astronaut but the first ever Australian citizen eligible to travel into space.

While two other Australians have travelled to space—Dr Andrew Thomas and Paul Scully Power—they did so as citizens of the United States.

This means that Bennell-Pegg is the first ever astronaut to qualify under the Australian flag.

After her graduation, Bennell-Pegg took to social media to post a picture of her exciting accomplishment and declared that her certificate is “going straight to the pool room”.

Out of the 22,500 applicants for the ESA astronaut training program, Bennell-Pegg is one of just six to graduate on Monday.

The 13-month training program involves a rigorous curriculum that includes parabolic flights (low-gravity and weightlessness exercises), centrifuge or G-force training (G-force training), low-pressure tank use, survival and medical training, and even learning to speak Russian.

First female astronaut Australia.
(Credit: Getty)

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palmero, has stated that the organisation is proud of Bennell-Pegg.

“Katherine will return to Australia a qualified astronaut brimming with knowledge, insights and connections that will help generate global opportunities for our industry — driving more innovation and economic development here at home,” he said.

As a whole, the space industry is still largely male dominated, making Bennell-Pegg’s achievement even more remarkable.

It’s safe to say that many little girls have a new role model in Bennell-Pegg.

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