Caribou native Jessica Meir, aboard the International Space Station in April 2020. Courtesy of NASA

Astronaut Jessica Meir, who grew up in Caribou and spent 205 days in space, has been inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.

The honor is the latest recognition for Meir, who has made history as the first Maine woman to travel to space and as part of the first three all-female spacewalks. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2022.

Meir was inducted at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on Saturday, when the museum highlighted her participation in the spacewalks as a “milestone that exemplified her commitment to breaking barriers in both gender and science.”

“Her multidisciplinary background, which includes a Ph.D. in marine biology, enriches NASA’s interdisciplinary missions and bridges the gap between science and space exploration,” the museum said in its announcement. “A skilled communicator, Meir is renowned for engaging the public about the importance of STEM and the future of human spaceflight, inspiring a new generation of explorers.”

The NASA media office did not respond Monday to a request to speak with Meir about her latest honor.

Aviator Robert DeLaurentis, U.S. Naval aviator E. Royce Williams, General Atomics Aeronautical and actor William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame, who at age 90 became the oldest person to go into space, also were inducted.


Meir grew up in Caribou, where she began talking about her goal to become an astronaut when she was in kindergarten. After high school, she studied biology at Brown University and went on to earn a master’s degree in space studies from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. After earning her Ph.D., she studied high-flying bar-headed geese at the University of British Columbia, where she trained a gaggle of goslings to fly in a wind tunnel while they wore masks and little backpacks with data monitoring equipment.

Before becoming an astronaut, she continued to research the physiology of animals in extreme environments and was an aquanaut on an exploration mission in Aquarius, an underground research laboratory.

It took three tries for Meir to be chosen for the highly selective astronaut training program, but in 2013 she was among eight people selected from a pool of 6,000 applicants.

Meir, 46, traveled to the International Space Station on Sept. 25, 2019. During that mission, she made 3,280 orbits of Earth and traveled 86.9 million miles. She worked alongside Maine astronaut Chris Cassidy on the space station for eight days.


In 2020, Meir was selected for the Artemis Team, a group of 18 astronauts focusing on training efforts for missions to the moon. She was not selected for the crew of the Artemis II mission that will test equipment while flying farther into space than any humans since the Apollo program ended 51 years ago. But she will still have a chance to fly to the moon on later missions.

Meir’s current work focuses on developing and testing equipment with members of the Artemis Team. On Instagram, she has documented tests of the Atlas Excon suit, which she said she will wear during a JETT (Joint Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program Test Team) mission. Astronauts will wear the suits in Arizona to help develop and refine techniques and technology to explore and conduct science during missions to the moon, she said in an Instagram post.

Earlier this year, Meir welcomed her first child. Meir, who lives in the Houston area, has since shared photos on social media of her daughter being introduced to other astronauts and visiting NASA training facilities.


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A post shared by Jessica Meir (@astro_jessica)

In September, Meir said in an Instagram post that her husband and daughter were on hand when she was in a spacesuit for the first time since being pregnant.

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