Dr. Karen Nyberg is an engineer, astronaut, and textile artist who, through nearly thirty years of experience in human spaceflight, has gained an appreciation for the value of working within and across diverse political ideologies, cultural values, and world views to advance critical missions.
Karen was selected as a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000. She made her first trip to space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 2008, during the height of International Space Station (ISS) construction, delivering and installing the Japanese Laboratory. On her second spaceflight in 2013, Karen launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and lived and worked at ISS for 166 days.
Prior to astronaut selection, Karen worked as an Environmental Control Systems Engineer at the Johnson Space Center where she led several design and analysis initiatives in the areas of space vehicle and space suit thermal and environmental control.
Recently retired from NASA, Karen is currently pursuing interests in the areas of conservation and sustainability, fully appreciating the responsibility for innovation and technology to strive to meet those needs. She serves as an ambassador and advisor for Osomtex® upcycled yarns and fabrics, promoting a circular economy in the textile industry.
Karen received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and has been honored with the highest alumni award from each alma mater. She serves on the Board of Directors for the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation, supporting the education and research goals of the UND Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.