South Curl Curl’s Katherine Bennett-Pegg, an astronaut candidate at the European Space Agency, is the first Australian to train as an astronaut under the Australian flag, and Australia’s first ever female astronaut candidate.
“I grew up on the Northern Beaches..and it has a beautiful bright starry sky at night and I used to love being out in the garden looking up at the stars,” she told ABC earlier this year.
“When we had our career counselling sessions they said write down three different things you’d like to be and I wrote down 1. Astronaut and refused to write down anymore.”
Katherine has an accomplished space career. She is a Director of Space Technology at the Australian Space Agency and previously served as a reservist in the Australian Army.
So chuffed is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to have been part of her early skills training, they’ve just appointed her as an Honorary Group Captain in the Royal Australian Air Force.
While on an official visit to participate in the Combined Space Operations Initiative in Berlin, Defence Space Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts presented Katherine with her Air Force uniform.
“While this flying suit is made of green thread, we are united by a golden thread to inspire young people and particularly young women into exciting STEM space careers,” Air Vice Marshal Roberts said.
“It is an absolute honour to represent my country as the first astronaut trained under the Australian flag,” Katherine, who has already kicked off her training in Germany shortly, said.