NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will make history in May 2018 when she hitches a ride to the International Space Station to become the vessel’s first permanent African-American crew member.
The astronaut will travel to the ISS as a flight engineer aboard Expedition 56 where she will be joined by Andrew Feustel, a veteran astronaut who will serve as commander of Expedition 56.
Before becoming an astronaut Epps worked for Ford Motor Company after which she worked at the Central Intelligence Agency as a Technical Intelligence Officer for seven years.
After leaving the agency Epps was selected for NASA’s 20th astronaut class in July 2009 where her training included: Russian language training, spacewalk training, robotics, T-38 jet training, geology and National Outdoor Leadership School training.
Not content with finishing her training there Epps went on to participate in a NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation, geologic studies in Hawaii and additional spacewalk and T-38 jet training.
There have of course been numerous African-American visitors aboard the ISS but Epps will be the first to form part of the vessel’s permanent crew.
Heading 400km above the surface of the Earth is no small achievement by any stretch of the imagination but given Epps’ long list of qualifications and extensive training she absolutely deserves her spot in the history books.
[Source – NASA] [Image – CC BY 2.0 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]