From orbit to earth, NASA astronaut embarks on Langtang, Annapurna trek – NFSJ
Sandy Magnu

Rajan Pokhrel

KATHMANDU: A renowned scientist, who logged over four months in orbit, has arrived Kathmandu to experience the natural and cultural beauty of Nepal.

Sandy Magnu
A file photo of astronaut and Executive Director Emeritus at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sandy Magnus. Photo: NASA

After serving for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 16 years, Sandy Magnus has decided to visit Nepal to experience the diverse colours of Nepal’s flora and fauna. Magnus left for Rasuwa today to begin hiking in the Langtang Valley.

“I will be trekking along the Langtang National Park and Annapurna Circuit here and it will be really exciting,” Magnus who is also the Executive Director Emeritus at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, told THT.

As Langtang and Annapurna Base Camp are considered the world’s most popular hiking and trekking destinations, Magnus said that she would hike Langtang area for at least 10 days and return to Annapurna circuit. “I will share my experience once I return from the trek,” the distinguished scientist quipped.

According to Prem Thapa of Samsara Adventure, who locally manages Magnus’s visit, the scientist will explore the country’s adventure destinations for over a month. “She will also trek to Annapurrna Base Camp.”

Born October 30, 1964, in Belleville, Illinois, Magnus flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002 and on the STS-135 final mission in 2011. According to NASA, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 as Mission Specialist in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board.

While being a part of the NASA Astronaut Corps, Magnus also lived under water for a week in the Aquarius habitat under the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project.

“While at NASA, Magnus worked extensively with the international community, including the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, as well as with Brazil on facility-type payloads,” a NASA report stated, adding, “Magnus also received numerous awards, including the NASA Space Flight Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and the 40 at 40 Award.”

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