NASA's First Black Space Station Crewmember Is a Total Inspiration
Today in news we're so here for: In May 2018, Jeanette Epps will become the first African American crewmember on the International Space Station. NASA announced this week that Epps will be joining veteran astronaut Andrew Fuestel as a flight engineer for Expedition 56 and then stay on board for Expedition 57. It'll be the first time she's gone into orbit.
"Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer," Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston said. “The space station will benefit from having them on board.”
We'll say: Epps started on her journey to space back in her hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. — and it began fairly early on. "It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters' grades and he said, 'You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,'" Epps said in a NASA video interview, according to Mashable. "And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, 'Wow, that would be so cool.'"
After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics at LeMoyne College, she moved on to the University of Maryland to earn a master's degree and a doctorate in aerospace engineering while working as a fellow with the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project. She went on to work for the CIA as a technical intelligence officer for seven years before landing in the 2009 astronaut class. As you can tell, Epps is a total badass — and now she's continuing her trailblazing in space.
Her Twitter, BTW, is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at exactly what it takes to be an astronaut.
Culmination of a great week of training in Star City. pic.twitter.com/gUU1y319fM— Jeanette J. Epps (@Astro_Jeanette) December 10, 2016
In Star City training, again. 2 exams passed in a week & 2 to go, @ ~L-17mos. Star City- beautiful & historical. pic.twitter.com/EyM8BWZ1IP— Jeanette J. Epps (@Astro_Jeanette) December 5, 2016
Congratulations to Epps — we can't wait to follow her mission next year.
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