Yet another woman has made it to space history. Jeanette Epps will be the first Black American astronaut to work at the International Space Station in 2018. NASA on Wednesday assigned African-American astronaut Epps on missions to fly to the ISS as a crew member.
Though many astronauts have gone into space, over the past few decades, only 14 Black astronauts have done so. This is the first time that a Black person has gained the crew membership of the ISS abroad, according to a NASA press release.
Culmination of a great week of training in Star City. pic.twitter.com/gUU1y319fM
— Jeanette J. Epps (@Astro_Jeanette) December 10, 2016
The space station was founded in 1998. Epps is the 13th woman to be a part of the ISS home. She was born in Syracuse, New York, and pursued a PhD in aerospace engineering. Epps has begun flying as an astronaut since 2009 and has spent most of her pre-NASA career working as a CIA intelligence officer.
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Now, she will be accompanying astronaut Andrew Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56 when it reaches orbit in May 2018, according to NASA. She will also stay on board for Expedition 57.
“Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, in a NASA press release. “The space station will benefit from having them on board,” he added.
University President Wallace Loh tweeted:
Inspired by Terp astronaut Jeanette Epps who will embark on her 1st space flight in 2018 & become 1st African American on the @Space_Station
— Wallace D. Loh (@presidentloh) January 10, 2017
Before this massive leap of her career, Epps has served seven years as a technical intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. This former NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow will work with 200 astronauts who have visited the ISS.
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Epps is fluent in Russian, which would help her working alongside Russian cosmonauts on the space station. Epps also has training in spacewalks, robotics, T-38 flights and wilderness survival.
Prior joining the CIA and then NASA, Epps was lauded during her errands at Ford Motor as a technical specialist in the company’s scientific research lab. The researcher has gained numerous credibilities, including in magnetostrictive actuators and automobile collision location detection and countermeasure systems resulted in patents.
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According to NASA’s release of “Hidden Figures”, before Epps, three Black women had been in the key roles in NASA’s successful attempt to put astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962.
WATCH Jeanette Epps’s Interview here:
It’s an important milestone for Jeanette! We salute you!!
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Feature Image Credit: Mashable
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