Space Station gets its first African-American crew member

Jeanette Epps will make history when she goes into orbit.

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Space Station gets its first African-American crew member

The International Space Station may be in its twilight years, but that isn't precluding it from adding more to the history books. NASA has revealed that Jeanette Epps will be the first African-American ISS crew member when Expedition 56 reaches orbit in May 2018. It'll be the Syracuse-born astronaut's first spaceflight, but she has an extremely strong pedigree going in. On top of aerospace engineering and science degrees, she spent most of her pre-NASA career working as a CIA intelligence officer.

There has yet to be an African-American ISS mission commander, and the opportunity for that is limited given how few years the station has left without another extension. However, it's still an important milestone. The ISS has long been a (partial) reflection of Earth's cultural makeup, with visitors and crew members coming from the likes of Brazil, Japan and Malaysia in addition to spacefaring regulars such as the US and Russia. It's only fitting that the US' own crews eventually mirror the population you see back on terra firma.

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