ONLYONABC7NEWS.COM: Napa native on 1st space mission aboard International Space Station

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area Astronaut Kate Rubins has been on the International Space Station for a few weeks now and she's wasted no time beginning her study of the body and genetics in micro-gravity.

Last month, mission commander Jeff Williams welcomed NASA's newest space traveler after a two-day journey from Earth.

WATCH VIDEO: Napa native heading to ISS for 4-month mission

She spent seven years preparing, but there's nothing quite like space. "It's absolutely fantastic up here. Everything is surprising, it feels like the laws of physics have either changed or been extremely reinforced," Rubins said.

Objects in motion, stay in motion and sometimes hit you in the face.

WATCH VIDEO: Napa native heading to ISS on 1st space mission

Rubins did finally get that microscope set up to study how microgravity affects heart cells. "The gravity vector is no longer draining fluid into your legs and that actually affects the cardiovascular system."

Fluids just sort of sit there, including milk. But Rubins is beyond happy with the cuisine. "It's really phenomenal food up here, so we get Russian food, we can eat dinner with our Russian colleagues and we all share food together, we get American food, my Japanese crewmate has brought some Japanese food," Rubins said.

But something from her hometown is missing. ABC7 News' Jonathan Bloom asked: "Did you manage to bring any Napa Valley wine with you?"

"Unfortunately there's no wine on board the International Space Station," Rubins said.

She does wave hello when she passes over Napa's Vintage High School where teachers remember her passion for science. "When I was a kid, ever since I can remember, I had a list of career goals and astronaut was one of them," Rubins said.

Soon, she'll answer questions from space in a school assembly at Napa Vintage High. "Any time you get a chance to talk to students, it's just fantastic. It really is inspiring to us, and we draw a lot from their enthusiasm," Rubins said.

As they inspire teens to reach for the stars.
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