HOUSTON — Astronaut Karen Nyberg, a Minnesota native and University of North Dakota graduate, has retired from NASA after three decades at the agency's Johnson Space Center.

NASA made the announcement Tuesday, March 31.

Nyberg spent 20 years as an astronaut and a total of 180 days in space.

"Karen has been an important part of the astronaut corps for many years. Her teammate and leadership skills have made her a great astronaut, a dear colleague and a mentor to many," Pat Forrester, chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center, said in a statement. "I have so much respect for her and I appreciate all that she has contributed to the space program. I am sorry to see her go but wish her the best in the next chapter of her life."

Last summer, the Grand Forks Herald reported that Nyberg is one 11 NASA astronauts to have ties to the Dakotas and Minnesota. Nyberg grew up in Vining, Minn. She graduated from Henning High School in 1988 and went to UND, where she earned a mechanical engineering degree in 1994.

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She started at NASA in 1991. She flew on the space shuttle Discovery in 2008 and on the space station in 2013.