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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane astronaut Anne McClain back on Earth

UPDATED: Mon., June 24, 2019, 9:27 p.m.

Astronaut Anne McClain displays her Gonzaga Prep Bullpups T-shirt as she participates in an Earth-to-Space video downlink to a gathering of local students earlier this year. On Wednesday she is giving a presentation at G-Prep, which invited other schools to participate. Some have declined and upset parents believe it’s because McClain is gay. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Astronaut Anne McClain displays her Gonzaga Prep Bullpups T-shirt as she participates in an Earth-to-Space video downlink to a gathering of local students earlier this year. On Wednesday she is giving a presentation at G-Prep, which invited other schools to participate. Some have declined and upset parents believe it’s because McClain is gay. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

After 204 days in space, Spokane astronaut Anne McClain is back on Earth.

McClain departed the International Space Station with Oleg Kononenk of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.

They landed at about 7:47 p.m. (Spokane time) in Kazakhstan, concluding a more than six-month mission conducting science and maintenance aboard the space station. They circled the planet 3,264 times, covering 86.4 million miles, according to NASA.

McClain graduated from Gonzaga Prep in 1997 and spent a year in the ROTC program at Gonzaga University before attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.

McClain became a commissioned Army officer in 2002 and served 15 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

McClain holds master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and international relations from the Universities of Bath and Bristol, respectively, both in the United Kingdom.

McClain also played on the USA Rugby Women’s National Team. She also has a 5-year-old son.

McClain was supposed to be part of a history-making all-female spacewalk team this spring, that was later canceled amid controversy due to a lack of small suits.

“I think by now most people know that was actually based on my recommendation,” McClain told the TODAY Show in April. “I think as the lead for the U.S. segment up here on the space station we are always looking for ways to make our team and our job execution the most efficient that we possibly can.”

Hours before landing, McClain tweeted a picture of the space station and outer space with the caption, “We shall not cease from exploration… .”

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