Jeanette Epps: Space Explorer

Jeanette Epps will be the first Black female crew member to live and work on the International Space Station.

Can you imagine living and working in a science lab as large as a football field with five other people? Now imagine not leaving the lab for six months and orbiting Earth 16 times a day while traveling 17,500 miles an hour! Does this sound like fun? If so, you may be interested in becoming an astronaut.

Jeanette Epps was interested! In 2021, she and two other astronauts will be headed to the International Space Station, a science lab that has been occupied by astronauts from different countries since 2000. Epps worked hard for a long time to achieve this dream. After college, she developed an anti-vibration technology at Ford Motor Company and, then joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a Technical Intelligence Officer for seven years. With some convincing from her brother, she applied to be an astronaut candidate in 2009. Epps was one of only nine people chosen. She learned about robotics, spacewalking, geology, and the Russian language. While waiting to be placed on a mission to space, she worked for NASA in the mission control division and other assignments related to getting back to the moon.

Space Station orbiting Earth

This will be the first time a private company has taken NASA astronauts into space to the International Space Station. They will live and work with astronauts from different countries. They will conduct science experiments that couldn’t be done on Earth. Epps is hoping to do a spacewalk and prepare for missions farther into space. She knows she will need to be flexible and adapt to change as she works very closely with five other people for six months.

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Photo Credit: (t)NASA, (b)3Dsculptor/Shutterstock