NASA astronaut to be first black woman to go on ISS mission


NASA astronaut will make history as the first black woman to go on extended mission to the International Space Station next year

  • NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will become the first black woman to go on an extended trip to the International Space Station
  • She will be joining astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for the six-month expedition that has an expected launch date of 2021 
  • The spaceflight will be the first for Epps 
  • Epps spent seven years as a technical intelligence officer for the CIA before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class. 

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will become the first black woman to go on an extended trip to the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps has been tapped as the first black woman to participate in an extended mission to the International Space Station. 

 NASA announced Tuesday that Epps would be joining astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for the six-month expedition that has an expected launch date of 2021. 

Epps will be joining onto the Starliner-1 mission, which the other two astronauts have been a part of since August 2018. 

The mission will also be the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.

‘I’m super excited to join Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada on the first operational Boeing crew member to the International Space Station,’ Epps said in a video she shared on Twitter once the news was announced. 

‘I’ve flown in helicopters with Suni flying and I’ve flown in the backseat of a T38 with Josh flying and they are both wonderful people to work with, so I’m looking forward to the mission.’ 

Sunita Williams

John Cassada

She will be joining astronauts Sunita Williams (left) and Josh Cassada (right) for the six-month expedition that has an expected launch date of 2021

The spaceflight will be the first for Epps, who earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from LeMoyne College before completing her master’s degree in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Epps has authored several journal and conference articles. Prior to her recruitment by the CIA, she co-authored several patents while researching in a laboratory. 

The astronaut spent seven years as a technical intelligence officer for the CIA before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class. 

The spaceflight will be the first for Epps, who expressed her excitement for joining the team

The spaceflight will be the first for Epps, who expressed her excitement for joining the team

The International Space Station, where Epps and the other astronauts are headed

The International Space Station, where Epps and the other astronauts are headed

The astronaut spent seven years as a technical intelligence officer for the CIA before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class

The astronaut spent seven years as a technical intelligence officer for the CIA before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class

She was congratulated by Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, who welcomed her onto the team.

‘Jeanette Epps congratulations on your assignment to the Starliner-1 crew and mission to the International Space Station,’ he said in a video posted on Twitter. 

‘We look forward to seeing you around the factors soon along with your crewmates Sun and Josh as you meet the entire Boeing team…’ 

The three will be headed to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which works with the aerospace industry on new generations of spacecraft and launch systems. 

The launch of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner in 2021 comes after Space X launched its first crewed mission in its Crew Dragon on May 30.

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