Nasa removes Black US astronaut from Space Station mission

Jeanette J. Epps
Jeanette J. Epps PH.D recently graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training. (NASA/JSC/Robert Markowitz)

Black US astronaut Jeanette Epps has reportedly been removed from the next mission to the International Space Station.

Dr. Epps would have been the first black astronaut to step foot on the International Space Station. She was set to board a Russian Soyuz flight in June but will now be replaced by a another astronaut.

No reason has been given for taking her off the crew, but NASA has said Dr. Jeanette Epps will be considered for upcoming missions.

Dr. Epps was born in Syracuse, New York and finished her doctorate in aerospace engineering in 2000. After she graduated she worked in a lab for two years before she was recruited by the CIA.

There, she worked as a technical intelligence officer for seven years, with time spent in Iraq. Later she was chosen as a member of NASA’s 2009 astronaut class.

She gave an interview to Elle magazine last year where she said, “I get very excited when I think about being up in space, partly because I compare it to going into a war zone.

“Both are very dangerous but, for me, it’s a no-brainer: I would rather face the dangers in space than go back to a war zone.”

She went on to say, “When people come back from space, I see how much they want to go again.”

Jeanette Epps was set to head to the ISS after launching from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, along with the German European Space Agency (Esa) astronaut Alexander Gerst and the flight’s commander, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopev.

In a statement, NASA said Dr. Epps would “return to Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to assume duties in the Astronaut Office.”

Dr. Epps is reportedly being replaced by Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a medical doctor from Fort Collins, Colorado. Auñón-Chancellor has spent over nine months in Russia where she supported medical operations for space station crew members.