Follow Alumni Leader Tim O’Keefe As He Treks To Kazakhstan For Grad’s Next Space Launch

Karen Nyberg

Karen Nyberg blasts off Tuesday for six-month mission aboard International Space Station

By David Dodds

University of North Dakota alumni leader Tim O’Keefe is packing his bags and heading east to Kazakhstan this week for a UND graduate who’s attained heights unmatched by any other – literally.

Alumna Karen Nyberg is set to launch into space again for a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

O’Keefe, who’s been known to go to the ends of the Earth for UND alums in the past, won’t quite make it to outer space this time around, but he will see Nyberg off as she blasts into the atmosphere from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahhstan on Tuesday, May 28.

Tim O'Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.
Tim O’Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.

Before that, however, he’ll be sending dispatches about his travels through Russia on his way to Kazakhstan for the launch. Alumni and the general public are encouraged to track Tim’s travels through his regular postings at, and on UND’s Area Voice Blog, which appears frequently on the front pages of Forum Communication newspaper websites (i.e. Grand Forks HeraldForum of Fargo-Moorhead) in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

He’ll also be tweeting messages along way through Twitter. Follow him at @UNDTimOKeefe.

Speaking of Tweets, you also can follow Nyberg’s mission through her personal tweets on Twitter @AstroKarenN.

If the stars align so to speak, Nyberg also is slated to deliver UND’s Summer Commencement keynote address from space on Aug. 2.

NASA and its International Space Station partners chose Nyberg from an eligible pool of thousands to be part of the 36th international crew to live and work aboard the Space Station.

Nyberg, a Vining, Minn., native, is the first UND alum and only the sixth Minnesotan ever to launch into space. Her first mission was aboard the space shuttle Discovery, which soared into space on May 31, 2008. She graduated summa cum laude from UND in 1994, with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Nyberg, a NASA flight engineer, will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, and arrive on the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft. She is slated to return to earth in November.

Milo Smith
Director of Communications and Marketing
UND Alumni Association & Foundation
P 701.777.0831  |  800.543.8764  | F 701.777.3686
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