Brother of African-American NASA astronaut pulled from historic space station mission blames racism

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The brother of NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was scheduled to be the primary African-American crew member on the Worldwide Area Station (ISS), claims racism is the explanation his sister was pulled from the mission.

“My sister Dr. Jeannette Epps has been preventing towards oppressive racism and misogynist in NASA and now they’re holding her again and permitting a Caucasian Astronaut to take her place!” Henry Epps wrote in a Fb put up Saturday, in line with The Washington Publish. As well as, he linked to a MoveOn.org petition asking NASA to reinstate his sister.

Epps’ Fb put up has since been eliminated.

ASTRONAUT SET TO BE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN ON SPACE STATION CREW REMOVED FROM FLIGHT

NASA has not responded to a request for remark from Fox Information why Epps was faraway from the flight, scheduled for June. The federal government company did present a press release to The Publish, nonetheless, saying: “Variety and inclusion are integral to mission success at NASA and we now have a various astronaut corps reflective of that method.”

In an e mail to The Publish, Epps mentioned she was not going to touch upon her brother’s social media feedback, nor did she know why she was bumped from the flight. She additionally famous that neither she, nor anybody in her household, created the MoveOn.org petition. 

It is not unusual for crew modifications to be made on area flights, even ones that come on the final minute. Ken Mattingly was pulled from Apollo 13 and changed by Jack Swigert due to publicity to German measles, although he by no means contracted the illness. Mattingly finally flew to the Moon on Apollo 16, making him considered one of solely 24 folks to go on lunar missions.

Epps shall be thought-about for future area missions, in line with NASA. She’s been changed by her backup, Serena Aunon-Chancellor.

Epps is returning to Houston from Russia, the place she’d been coaching to fly to the area station with a German and Russian. NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean mentioned Friday it was a choice by NASA, not the Russian Area Company.

Fourteen African-American astronauts have flown into area in whole, with a few of them having visited the ISS. Epps, nonetheless, would have been the primary to reside there.

Chosen as a part of NASA’s 20th astronaut class in 2009, Epps has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and used to work for the CIA. 

Auñón-Chancellor, who was additionally a part of the identical class as Epps, would be the first Hispanic girl to reside on the ISS.

The Related Press contributed to this report. Observe Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia. This story has been up to date to mirror Mattingly by no means set foot on the Moon, however did go on a lunar mission.

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