A San Diego City College graduate will become the first Mexico-born woman to fly in space
A San Diego City College graduate who has dreamed of exploring the cosmos since she was a child learned Monday that her wish will come true during a mission in which she will become the first Mexico-born woman to travel in space.
Katya Echazarreta was one of six people chosen to participate in a sub-orbital flight that will be staged by Blue Origin, the space rocket and tourism company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin officials say the 26-year-old Echazarreta, who has considerable experience as an electrical engineer, will serve as a citizen science astronaut on behalf of Space for Humanity, a Denver-based space exploration interest group.
“The news is out. I’m going to space, ”she said Monday during a brief, giddy video on TikTok.
The date of the mission has yet to be set. But Blue Origin announced the rest of the crew, which includes: Astronaut Evan Dick, Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding, civil production engineer Victor Correa Hespanha and Dream Variation Ventures co-founder Jaison Robinson.
The crew will travel aboard New Shepard, a reusable rocket that will be carrying humans into space for the first time.
As her many followers on TikTok and YouTube know, Echazarreta was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and later moved to San Diego, where she earned a degree at San Diego City College in May 2016. She then transferred to UCLA and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She is finishing a Master’s program in engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Her resume also includes work as an electrical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where she helped support such missions as the Mars Perseverance Rover, and the upcoming Europa Clipper trip to Jupiter.
She is better known to many as the host of the YouTube series Netflix IRL and as Electric Kat on Mission Unstoppable, a program produced by CBS.
Echazarreta also promotes STEM education, especially on TikTok, where she subtly cheers people on by showing herself working through engineering problems. In one post, she sat at a work table and said, “Engineering can be really frustrating at times. It can feel like no matter you love the field, sometimes it just does not love you back.
“But I’ve realized something recently. I’ve started to love those moments where nothing seems to be working, because I know what comes next. The moment where I finally figure it out. ”