AUSTIN (KXAN) - A University of Texas alumna and mother of a young son embarks on one out-of-this-world adventure -- heading to outer space.
Dr. Karen Nyberg is now in the International Space Station after embarking on the journey on Tuesday, leaving behind her husband and 3-year-old son Jack. The longest she's been apart from her son is five weeks.
"We do tell him that mommy's going to live on the space station, and when he sees a picture of the space station he knows what it is," said Nyberg in her video blog.
Nyberg acknowledged that it's tough to know just how much her son understands about her trip to space, but she says he does know a few things -- such as what a rocket is and that the station travels around the earth.
"He knows that in the space station there's no gravity and things float," said Nyberg. "I'm looking forward to being there and sending down videos and showing him just simple things like when I'm eating and when I'm just playing around and just sharing that with him."
With her upcoming departure, Nyberg reportedly focused on really enjoying the Mother's Day weekend this year with her family. Still, son Jack won't be the only one following mom's movement.
Anyone can follow her space travels on her Twitter page. Her last post talks about being with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano as he watched his first sunrise from the ISS.
Nyberg is assigned to the Expedition 36 crew as a flight engineer, with NASA experience under her belt that dates back to 1991.
"It is absolutely incredible," said Nyberg of her 2008 space trip that lasted for only 14 days.
She remembers the first time she opened the big door of the space shuttle to look out the back windows of the flight deck.
"It's pretty much indescribable how beautiful it is. And the feeling of floating, you know, like a superhero is amazing and I'm so excited to do it again," said Nyberg.
The astronaut mom will be on this mission for the next several months, facing the challenge of parenting while living 250 miles above Earth.
In-Depth: About Nyberg
Nyberg is from Vining, Minn., and she was selected as an astronaut by NASA in July 2000.
Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties such as Crew Support Astronaut for the Expedition 6 team during their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Nyberg completed her first spaceflight in 2008 on STS-124, and she has logged more than 13 days in space.
She is assigned to the Expedition 36 crew as a flight engineer and is now at the International Space Station aboard Soyuz 35 on May 28, 2013.
Prior to selection as an astronaut, Nyberg was a co-op at NASA Johnson Space Center from 1991-1995 working in a variety of areas. She received a patent for work in 1991 on Robot Friendly Probe and Socket Assembly.
Her recreational interests include running, sewing, drawing and painting, backpacking, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She has a bachelor's, master's and doctorate in mechanical engineering.
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