As Jeff Bezos’ new company Blue Origin continues to expand, they’ve begun scheduling more test flights with the hopes of eventually establishing a commercial airline to outer space. Katya Echazarreta, a 26-year-old electrical engineer living in San Diego, is one of six participants who have been tapped for Blue Origin’s latest sub-orbital expedition.

Upon her ascent, she will become the first Mexico-born woman to fly to outer space.

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Echazarreta, a San Diego City College alumna, has dreamt of going to space since she was a child, and was seen breaking down in tears of joy upon hearing the news that she would be one of a handful of people aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard, “a reusable rocket that will be carrying humans into space for the first time,” reads an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The article also clarifies that Echazarreta will be serving as “a citizen science astronaut on behalf of Space for Humanity, a Denver-based space exploration interest group.”


This was made possible by Space for Humanity! As their first Citizen Astronaut for their CAP program, I’ll serve as an Ambassador and continue to help bring change to the world. #stem #space #blueorigin #spaceforhumanity #womeninstem #womenintech #citizenastronaut #stemlife #stemtok #spacethings

♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy

The aspiring astronaut was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, before being named 2016’s student of the year at San Diego City College. From there, Echazarreta transferred to UCLA, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

She’s currently getting her Master’s in engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Echazarreta has also worked as an electrical engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory — there, she supported the Mars Perseverance Rover and the upcoming Europa Clipper trip that’s headed for Jupiter.

In addition to her work with NASA, Echazarreta hosts a popular TikTok account where she encourages young people to go into STEM. She also hosts a YouTube series called “Netflix IRL” and appears as Electric Kat on “Mission Unstoppable” for CBS.

“Engineering can be really frustrating at times,” she said in one of her TikToks. “It can feel like no matter how much you love the field, sometimes it just doesn’t 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.”

Although no date has been set for the New Shepard mission, Blue Origin has released the names and roles of the six-person crew. Echazarreta will be accompanied by: “Astronaut Evan Dick, Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding, civil production engineer Victor Correa Hespanha, and Dream Variation Ventures co-founder Jaison Robinson.”