Richland native NASA astronaut Kayla Barron was in town for a Women in Engineering session hosted by Washington River Protection Solutions.

Kayla answered questions and shared her adventure aboard the space station as a member of the SpaceX Crew 3.

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Her 177 days aboard the International Space Station were challenging and rewarding.

"Spacewalks are a good example of the teamwork that it takes to get our job done up there. Everyone is involved in these operations. You have people suiting you up. We have a lot to get done in a limited time. It's a very complicated environment to work in."

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When asked about the food in space, Barron replied, "It's kind of like meals ready to eat. It's food in packages that we put in a food warmer. It's like camping food. It's actually pretty good."

The astronaut stressed the importance of mentoring.

She stays in touch with students at the US Naval Academy and encourages them into higher leadership roles. "I think it's important to have role models." Her closest role model at the Naval Academy was a history professor who she stays in touch with to this day. Barron also reiterated that it's important to reach out and tell people what you're hoping to accomplish.

What's it like readjusting to gravity?

"Everything feels heavy back on Earth." Balance was an issue, she compared it to vertigo. It took about 5 days to adjust. Kayla keeps up with training for spacewalks, flying, and robotics training. She also plans to keep up on speaking Russian. The crew learned to speak the language due to interaction with the Russian Space Agency.

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