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About Karen

Karen Nyberg

Dr. Karen Nyberg
Retired NASA Astronaut, Engineer

Dr. Karen Nyberg is an engineer, astronaut, and textile artist who, through nearly thirty years of experience in human spaceflight, has gained an appreciation for the value of working within and across diverse political ideologies, cultural values, and world views to advance critical missions.

Karen was selected as a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000. She made her first trip to space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 2008, during the height of International Space Station (ISS) construction, delivering and installing the Japanese Laboratory. On her second spaceflight in 2013, Karen launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and lived and worked at ISS for 166 days.

Prior to astronaut selection, Karen worked as an Environmental Control Systems Engineer at the Johnson Space Center where she led several design and analysis initiatives in the areas of space vehicle and space suit thermal and environmental control.  Recently retired from NASA, Karen is currently pursuing interests in the areas of conservation and sustainability, fully appreciating the responsibility for innovation and technology to strive to meet those needs.

Karen received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and has been honored with the highest alumni award from each alma mater.

Karen lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Astronaut Doug Hurley, their Dinosaur loving son, Jack, and two sweet dogs, Leo and Luke.

Brand collaborations

While living in space for 180 days, Karen documented authentic, personal moments of life on the International Space Station. She created daily videos to stay connected with her son on earth and showed the world how to sew and wash your hair in space.  While living in space, Karen gained a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of life and the fragile beauty of our planet.

These days, she is on a mission to work with brands, organizations and people who are taking steps to make the world a better place.  Karen uses her content, art and celebrity voice to help bring attention to issues and tell brand stories. She likes to work on projects that align with her values and interests, including:  earth conservation and sustainability, motherhood and families, a healthy lifestyle, art and STEM.

Current Brands

Life is Good


Mention the words “NASA Astronaut” and most people immediately think of brilliant scientists and smart, technical engineers.  Less often would someone describe an Astronaut as a talented artist or accomplished seamstress.  Yet, Karen Nyberg is all of these things.

During her last mission in space, Karen showcased her artistry by sewing while living on the International Space Station and sparked a worldwide quilting project to commemorate the effort.  Click below to learn more about The Astronomical Quilt Block Challenge and see Karen's most recent textile artworks.


Astronaut Karen Nyberg

Get ready to be inspired by Karen Nyberg and her story of being raised in a dugout house outside of a small town in Minnesota to becoming the 50th woman to travel to space.  Karen is an accomplished astronaut who flew two space missions and holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering.   She found a way to parent her small child from space while living on the ISS and gained first hand knowledge of the importance of communication in a socially distanced world.   Through her life stories, Karen will explain how setting goals, building the right teams and perseverance can make anything happen. 


Board of Directors

The presence of a strong and effective board is increasingly critical to the success of organizations, especially in times of disruption. Every board needs an operational expert who can provide an experienced inside view.  Karen Nyberg has nearly 30 years working in human spaceflight at NASA, including 20 years as an Astronaut. She can help guide Boards to business growth in the areas of engineering, aerospace, commercial space travel and technology.

Media Room

Karen Nyberg

What is it like to actually parent from Space?

Glamour Magazine interview with Hilary Swank and Karen Nyberg  |  September 4, 2020

Karen Nyberg

Saving a SpaceMan from Drowning

NBC News | July 20,2017

Karen Nyberg

Astronaut Karen Nyberg Discusses re-adjusting to life on Earth

CBS News  |  Nov 20, 2013




Whether you’re looking for an ambassador to help tell your brand’s story, an artist to illuminate your ideas, a speaker for your next gathering or a Board member to help drive business growth, Karen Nyberg can help.

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