NASA announced this week that Epps will serve as an International Space Station crew member for Expeditions 56 and 57. Her role will be flight engineer.
Epps will become the first African-American crew member of an international space station expedition when she launches on her first spaceflight in May 2018.
Epps is a 1988 graduate of Corcoran High School. She grew up in Syracuse and attended Danforth and Clary schools as a child. She went on to 11 1/2 more years of schooling, including at Le Moyne College, where she graduated with a physics degree in 1992. Epps has worked as a CIA agent and an automobile engineer at Ford Motor Co.
Epps first revealed she would be traveling to space last year during a two-day visit to Syracuse for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics event at Danforth Middle School.
Epps has been working toward space travel since she was selected to NASA’s 20th astronaut class in 2009. She was one of nine chosen from a group of 3,500 applicants.
She has since trained in underwater space walks, robotics, jet flying, wilderness survival, and Russian language.
Three of her colleagues aboard the space station will be Russian. Fellow American astronaut Andrew Feustel will be commander when she arrives. The sixth member of the crew right now is French, representing the European Space Agency.
Epps has recently visited “Star City” in Moscow for training.
Culmination of a great week of training in Star City. pic.twitter.com/gUU1y319fM
— Jeanette J. Epps (@Astro_Jeanette) December 10, 2016