Female NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps is set to become the first African-American crew member aboard the International Space Station (ISS) when she flies to the orbital post in May 2018. NASA assigned veteran Andrew Feustel and Epps to missions aboard the ISS in 2018.
Feustel will launch in March 2018 for his first long-duration mission, serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 55 and later as commander of Expedition 56. Epps will join Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56 and remain on board for Expedition 57.
Epps received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She then completed a master’s of science in 1994. She received a doctorate in 2000 in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.
Epps was a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. She went on to work in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before being recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
She spent 7 years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.