The First Black Woman to Join an International Space Station Crew
Astronaut Jeanette Epps is making history by joining NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, planned to take off in 2021.
This is pretty groundbreaking – she will be the first Black woman to be a part of an International Space Station crew as well as the first to spend a prolonged period of time, working and living in space!
Epp’s resume is definitely an impressive one. Originally from Syracuse, New York, she earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland in 2000. She went on to work at the CIA for 7 years before joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 2009!
This will be her first journey into space, where she’ll be living for 6 months aboard the International Space Station.
The ISS is a research laboratory in space. It orbits the Earth, and allows it’s partnering countries to run important experiments and tests.
In 2018, Epps was supposed to go on a different ISS mission and had already been trained when NASA took her off of the job without explanation. Normally, astronauts only get replaced for health or family related issues. Many speculated the reason for this, and some, including Epps’ brother, cited racism as the reasoning behind the decision. In a statement afterwards, a NASA spokesperson said “A number of factors are considered when making flight assignments; these decisions are personnel matters for which NASA doesn’t provide information.”
All in all, Jeanette Epps is making major moves at NASA, and has been her entire career. Her hard work and dedication can serve as inspiration to us all!