Astronaut set to be first African-American on Space Station crew removed from flight

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A NASA astronaut who was slated to develop into the primary African American to function a member of the crew aboard the Worldwide House Station has been faraway from her upcoming mission.

Jeanette Epps, who had been scheduled to launch to the area station in June of this 12 months for a five-month expedition, has been changed on the flight by one other NASA astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, who was serving as Epps’ backup.

NASA introduced the crew change on Jan. 18, stating that Epps will assume duties within the Astronaut Workplace at Johnson House Heart in Houston, and “be thought-about for task to future missions.”

The explanation for Epps’ removing was not given. Brandi Dean, a NASA spokesperson, stated that numerous components have been thought-about.

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“These choices are personnel issues for which NASA would not present data,” Dean informed collectSPACE.com.

Epps, 47, was chosen by NASA to coach as an astronaut in 2009. In January 2017, the area company introduced that Epps would develop into the primary African American station crew member, launching with two different crewmates on Russia’s Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. As soon as on the area station, Epps would function a flight engineer on each the Expedition 56 and Expedition 57 crews.

Six African-American astronauts — Robert Curbeam, Alvin Drew, Joan Higginbotham, Leland Melvin, Robert Satcher and Stephanie Wilson — beforehand visited the station on area shuttle missions to assemble and provide the orbiting laboratory, however Epps would have been the primary to serve on the area station’s resident crew.

The information of Epps’ flight task rapidly unfold on-line, showing on quite a few web sites and in information publications worldwide. Lady’s Day featured Epps on the quilt of its 80th birthday difficulty in September 2017.

“Subsequent 12 months, astronaut Jeanette Epps will add her title to an unique listing of ladies who’ve traveled to area,” Lady’s Day reported on the time.” After virtually a decade of coaching in robotics and the Russian language — in order that she will be able to talk with the cosmonauts on her mission — she’s going to develop into the primary African American girl to dwell and work long-term on the Worldwide House Station.”

Previous to her area station task, Epps served on a panel centered on enhancing crew effectivity on the outpost. She additionally labored as a assist crew member for 2 station expeditions and as a spacecraft communicator, or capcom, in mission management.

Most not too long ago, Epps was assigned as backup to Norishige Kanai, an astronaut with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA), who lifted off to the area station on Dec. 17, the place he’s at the moment an Expedition 54 flight engineer.

“We collectively went via all trainings and examinations and the entire necessities. I’m fairly positive your time will come fairly, fairly quickly,” stated Kanai, addressing Epps at his pre-launch press convention.

Epps had been assigned to launch on Soyuz MS-09 with cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos and German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European House Company (ESA). Whereas on the area station, Epps would have additionally served along with her fellow NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Nick Hague, in addition to three different Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Artemyev, Aleksei Ovchinin and Nikolai Tikhonov.

Previous to Epps being eliminated, Auñón-Chancellor had been assigned to the Soyuz MS-11 crew, slated to launch to the area station in November 2018. NASA astronaut Anne McClain will now fill the seat vacated by Auñón-Chancellor.

Epps earned her bachelor’s in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne School in her hometown of Syracuse, New York, previous to finishing each her grasp’s in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the College of Maryland in 1994 and 2000, respectively.

She then joined the Ford Motor Firm, working of their scientific analysis lab as a technical specialist on lowering car vibrations and collision countermeasures. Her work resulted in her being granted two patents.

In 2002, she joined the Central Intelligence Company (CIA), the place she labored as a technical intelligence officer earlier than NASA selected her with its 20th astronaut class, attaining a lifelong dream.

“I did take into consideration being an astronaut, however I by no means thought that they’d take me,” Epps stated in December, replying to a younger girl at a press convention who requested if she dreamed of being an astronaut as a baby. “So I made a decision to develop into an engineer. By means of that route I made it into the astronaut corps.”

“I did lots of finding out — I went via graduate faculty, undergrad and graduate faculty — 11 years,” Epps added. “I did lots of work at school after which I labored for a motor firm after which I labored for the federal government. I have been with NASA for about eight years or so. It’s a lengthy highway.”

See the area station expedition mission patches that Jeanette Epps would have worn at collectSPACE.

Observe collectSPACE.com on Fb and on Twitter at @ collectSPACE. Copyright 2018 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.

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