Jeanette Epps Won’t Join ISS as First African-American Crew Member

Sun over the Earth and International Space Station

According to an official announcement from the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will not be joining them as the first long-term African-American crew member. For reasons that have not been specified, she has been pulled from her mission which was supposed to begin on June 2018, as part of Expedition 56/67. Instead, it appears that another NASA astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, will be taking her place on the International Space Station. Both Chancellor and Epps were selected by NASA from 3,500 applicants back in 2009, and were two of the 14 people that the space station found fit for future missions.

It seems that NASA selected Epps because of her valuable PhD in aerospace engineering. Also, because of her long experience of working for the CIA as a technical intelligence officer. As for Chancellor, she is actually a doctor who also has certifications in both aerospace and internal medicine.

Epps will no longer begin her mission

It’s interesting that NASA failed to offer more details regarding the reason why Epps was pulled from the mission. According to what Brandi Dean, a spokesperson for NASA, explained through an e-mail, NASA usually takes into account many factors when it’s making flight assignments. People should know that this is internal information which NASA does not make public. Also, it is mainly a personal matter.

So, instead of taking her first ever flight to orbit, Epps will be working from the Astronaut Office. This is located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. It’s worth noting that she is not out for good, just for this mission. The space agency said in the same statement that Epps might be assigned for future missions.

While other African-American people have seen the Space Station from inside, Epps was supposed to become the first long-term crew member. She would have spent months in there, living and working.

Image source: flickr