Kate Rubins was born in Connecticut, but she grew up in Napa. She graduated from Vintage High School, went to the University of California, San Diego and got her Ph.D at Stanford University in microbiology.
She'll put her life science expertise to good use, becoming the first person to sequence DNA in space.
Rubins, a Russian and a Japanese colleague have just boarded the Soyuz in Kazahkstan. Their two-day journey to the International Space Station is about to begin after their final training and exams in Star City, Russia.
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The 37-year old is scheduled to be up there for four months, conducting more than 250 life science experiments. Her research could teach us a lot about bone mass and cardiovascular systems.
"There are some experiments, heart cells in space," she said,.
Rubins has been tweeting about her expedition, using the hashtag #astrokate. They are set to lift off at 6:36 p.m. Pacific Time.
Rubins will become the 60th woman in space.