Megan McArthur. Photo courtesy UCSD

NASA announced Tuesday that Scripps Institution of Oceanography alumna Megan McArthur will return to space in early 2021 as the pilot for the third manned flight on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

McArthur, who received a Ph.D. in oceanography in 2002, will be making her second trip to space and first visit to the International Space Station. In 2009, she served as an astronaut aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

She will be joined on the mission by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, astronaut Akihiko Hoshide from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency.

The SpaceX Crew-2 mission is targeted to launch in spring 2021, following the successful completion of both NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test mission, which is expected to return to Earth Aug. 2, and the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, which is targeted for late September.

McArthur is one of two Scripps Oceanography alumni who are astronauts. Alumna Jessica Meir returned from a history-making visit to the International Space Station in April.

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