Cyclist Christina Birch

Famous Cyclist Christina Birch selected as NASA Astronaut

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Adorable cyclist Christina Birch, Ph.D., is NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate. She started her astronaut training in January 2022. Birch is from Arizona and studied at the University of Arizona.

She has degrees in mathematics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics. She later got her doctorate in biological engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After her studies, she became a teacher at the University of California, Riverside. She also taught at the California Institute of Technology. Then, Birch decided to chase another dream.

She became a top cyclist for the U.S. National Team. In her cycling career, she won 11 National Championships. She also earned 3 World Cup medals and joined the World Championships twice.

When NASA picked her, she was training hard for the Tokyo Olympics. This shows how Birch’s path from the lab to the race track shaped her space journey.

Cyclist Christina Birch Becomes an Astronaut

Key Takeaways

  • Christina Birch, a former 11-time national champion track cyclist, transitioned from the sport to become a NASA astronaut candidate.
  • Birch’s diverse background in academia, teaching, and professional sports has uniquely prepared her for the rigors of astronaut training and the future of space exploration.
  • As an astronaut candidate, Birch will undergo comprehensive training in operating the International Space Station, spacewalking, robotics, jet flying, and the Russian language.
  • Birch’s journey from cyclist to astronaut exemplifies the power of determination, interdisciplinary skills, and a passion for exploration.
  • Birch’s selection as a NASA astronaut candidate is a testament to her exceptional qualifications and serves as an inspiration for aspiring astronauts, especially female athletes.

Cyclist Christina Birch Becomes an Astronaut

In a surprising twist, former pro track cyclist and U.S. national team member Christina Birch, 35, has been chosen as an astronaut candidate. She was picked from over 12,000 applicants for NASA’s 2021 class. This big news shows us that athletes and sportswomen like Birch can reach for the stars in a whole new way.

Cyclist Christina Birch

Soon, Birch and her fellow candidates will head to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. They start their two-year astronaut candidate training there in January 2022. This training will teach them everything from operating the International Space Station to spacewalking and even flying jets while learning a new language.

Birch’s story from elite cyclist to aspiring astronaut is quite inspiring. It shows that the skills she learned in her athletic career are surprisingly similar to those needed in space. Her quick decision-making, teamwork, and drive for excellence are ideal as she moves into the world of advancing scientific research and inspiring others.

Introducing Christina Birch: Athlete and Scholar

Early Life and Education

Christina Birch was born in Mesa, Arizona, but calls Gilbert her hometown. She completed high school at Gilbert High in 2004. Later, she earned two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arizona. Her majors were mathematics and biochemistry/molecular biophysics. She also minored in Spanish and studied at the Universidad de Belgrano in Argentina.

Academic and Professional Achievements

In 2015, she obtained a doctorate in biological engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work blended synthetic biology, microfluidics, and the study of infectious diseases. After this, Christina Birch changed her path to become a professional track cyclist. She joined the U.S. National Team, where she has won 11 National Championships and achieved 3 World Cup medals. She has also taken part in the World Championships twice.

A Passion for Cycling

Cyclist Christina BirchChristina Birch was a top-track cyclist and a standout in academics. She became an 11-time national champion in track cycling. Her success includes winning medals at the World Cup and competing twice in the World Championships. Birch was getting ready for the Tokyo Olympics when she got selected as an astronaut. This shows her deep commitment to both her sport and space exploration.

Christina Birch’s Cycling Career Highlights

Christina Birch’s cycling career highlights are amazing. She became an 11-time national champion in track cycling. Birch also achieved 3 World Cup medals and participated in the World Championships twice. This all shows her incredible skill and spirit in international competitions.

Training Regimen and Dedication

Birch loved cycling, and this showed in her hard work. Even after becoming an astronaut, she kept training for big cycling events around the world. By doing well in sports and her studies, she proved how dedicated and talented she is.

The Astronaut Selection Process

In March 2020, Christina Birch submitted her application to NASA’s astronaut program. She did this while at the Olympic Training Center. There, she was preparing for track training sessions. Even though there were over 12,000 applicants, she remained determined.

Applying to NASA’s Astronaut Program

Cyclist Christina Birch

Christina Birch saw her background as an advantage. With degrees in math, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics, plus a PhD in biological engineering, she knew she could stand out. She had her first and second interviews in the 2021 summer after applying.

Rigorous Screening and Interviews

The selection process for astronauts is competitive. Out of 12,000 applicants in 2021, only 10 were chosen. Birch excelled in each step, showing her skills and love for space exploration. Her background as an elite athlete and in the STEM fields made her a top candidate.

christina birch applying to nasa's astronaut program

Transitioning from Cycling to Space Exploration

Christina Birch smoothly switched from pro cycling to aiming to be an astronaut. She found similarities between the focus, teamwork, and quick decisions needed in both worlds. As a cyclist, making quick, vital choices and effectively working with her teammates were key. These skills help her in her astronaut journey.

Parallels Between Athletic and Astronaut Training

In the world of cycling, aiming for peak performance aligns with NASA’s mission in human spaceflight. Both areas require top physical shape, the ability to decide fast, and working well in a team. The hard work and commitment Birch learned as a cyclist set her up perfectly for the intense astronaut candidate training.

Preparing for Astronaut Candidate Training

Christina Birch is starting her journey to join NASA. She’s off to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for two years of gruelling training. This program will get her ready to face the challenges of becoming an astronaut.

Comprehensive Training Curriculum

Her lessons will include understanding the International Space Station’s systems and getting good at using robots. She’ll also learn how to do spacewalks. This training covers flying the important T-38 jet and learning to speak Russian. Russian is key for working with astronauts from other countries.

Developing Essential Skills

Christina Birch’s varied background, from cycling to teaching, makes her a strong candidate for astronaut training. Her quick decision-making, teamwork, and communication skills are very important. These qualities will help her in her journey through astronaut training. With her strong will and dedication, Birch aims to leave her mark in space exploration.

christina birch preparing for astronaut candidate training

The Significance of Space Exploration

Christina Birch sees how space exploration changes the world and inspires people. Excited to be a NASA astronaut, she’ll do exciting research in space. Her work in fields like synthetic biology and infectious disease connects well with space projects.

Advancing Scientific Research

Years of study and work make Birch ready to help in scientific research advancement. Her skills in both engineering and biology are key. She plans to work closely with other astronauts and scientists to learn more about space and our universe.

Inspiring Future Generations

Christina Birch really cares about encouraging kids to follow their dreams in science, tech, engineering, and math. As a female astronaut, she wants to be a role model for young people, especially girls, who are interested in athletic careers in space.

Christina Birch’s Vision for the Future

Goals and Aspirations as an Astronaut

Christina Birch is excited to push the boundaries of space travel. She wants to contribute to NASA’s work on scientific research. Her dream is to join missions to the Moon, Mars, and other places. Space. She looks forward to the next steps after the Artemis program.

Birch’s goals show her strong will to explore space and learn more about our universe.

Encouraging STEM Education

Christina Birch also wants to see more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Being an astronaut, she is a big advocate for more young women in these fields. Her journey from a track cyclist to an astronaut is a story she uses to inspire others.

She encourages young women to follow their dreams. She aims to motivate future scientists, engineers, and explorers to aim high.


Christina Birch’s path from excelling in cycling to aiming for the stars with NASA shows the might of perseverance and diverse skills. Her unique mix of accomplishments in academia and sports set her up well for the demands of astronaut training and space exploration.

Cyclist Christina BirchShe was selected for NASA’s astronaut program, beating over 12,000 others. Christina brings a blend of knowledge from her cycling days and her studies in biology. This diverse background will surely enrich the research of NASA’s astronaut corps.

Christina Birch stands as a beacon for sportswomen and athletes, showing them that the sky’s not the limit. Her journey from cycling to space is a true example of how far athletes can go when they push past barriers.


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