Astronaut Biography: Karen L. Nyberg
NASA astronaut Karen L. Nyberg poses for a portrait.
Credit: NASA.

NAME: Karen L. Nyberg (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut (Mission Specialist)

PERSONAL DATA: Born on October 7, 1969 in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Her hometown is Vining, Minnesota. Recreational interests include art, running, volleyball, sewing, backpacking, piano, and spending time with her dogs. Karen's parents, Kenneth & Phyllis Nyberg reside in Vining, Minnesota.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Henning Public High School, Henning, Minnesota, 1988. B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, University of North Dakota, 1994. M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1996. Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1998.

SPECIAL HONORS/AWARDS: UND Young Alumni Achievement Award (2004), Space Act Award (1993); NASA JSC Patent Application Award (1993); NASA Tech Briefs Award (1993); NASA JSC Cooperative Education Special Achievement Award (1994); Joyce Medalen Society of Women Engineers Award (1993-94); D.J. Robertson Award of Academic Achievement (1992); University of North Dakota School of Engineering & Mines Meritorious Service Award (1991-1992). Recipient of numerous scholarships and other awards.

EXPERIENCE: Graduate research was completed at The University of Texas at Austin BioHeat Transfer Laboratory where she investigated human thermoregulation and experimental metabolic testing and control, specifically related to the control of thermal neutrality in space suits.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Co-op at Johnson Space Center from 1991-1995, working in a variety of areas. She received a patent for work done in 1991 on Robot Friendly Probe and Socket Assembly.

In 1998, on completing her doctorate, she accepted a position with the Crew and Thermal Systems Division, working as an Environmental Control Systems Engineer. Her prime responsibility involved using human thermal physiology and engineering control for improvements in the space suit thermal control system and evaluation of firefighter suit cooling technologies.

Other responsibilities included providing computational fluid dynamic analysis for the TransHab module air distribution system, coordinating and monitoring analysis tasks performed by a team of contractor personnel for the X-38 environmental control and life support system, providing conceptual designs of the thermal control system for the Advanced Mars and Lunar Lander Mission studies, and environmental control system analysis for a collapsible hyperbaric chamber.

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in July 2000, Dr. Nyberg reported for training in August 2000. Following the completion of two years of training and evaluation, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch where she served as Crew Support Astronaut for the Expedition 6 Crew during their six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Dr. Nyberg is currently assigned duties in the Space Shuttle Branch and the Exploration Branch. She will serve in technical assignments until assigned to a space flight.