Shannon Walker becomes first native Houstonian to command International Space Station

HOUSTON – For the first time in history, a native Houstonian has taken command of the International Space Station.

Veteran Shannon Walker accepted command of the space station on Thursday in a ceremony that began at 2:45 p.m. CDT.

Walker is a veteran astronaut who was not only born and raised in the Bayou City but also earned all three of her science degrees here.

Walker went to Westbury High School, Meyerland Visual and Performing Arts Middle School, and later Johnston Middle School, and Parker Elementary. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in physics from Rice University in 1987 and went back to complete her master of science in 1992 and received a Ph.D. in space physics in 1993.

“Having the Johnson Space Center here in my backyard growing up, I was always aware of what NASA was doing in the space program,” Walker told NASA. “I’m so proud to represent my hometown on the International Space Station where we conduct scientific research that can benefit all of humankind.”

According to NASA’s website, Walker is a member of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission that flew to the space station on the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft, the first commercial human spacecraft system. Walker and the Expedition 64 crew have worked on several experiments, including tissue chips that mimic the structure and function of human organs to understand the role of microgravity on human health and diseases and translate those findings to improve human health on Earth, NASA officials say.

“We like to call Johnson Space Center the home of the astronauts, and all of them live here while they’re training and supporting human spaceflight,” Johnson Director Mark Geyer said. “But in Shannon’s case, she’s a homegrown Houstonian, and we couldn’t be prouder for our community to have her representing Space City as commander of the space station.”

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