Nicole Aunapu Mann will be making history as the first Native woman to fly into space this fall.
Mann, enrolled in Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in northern California, will be aboard the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to go to the International Space Station no earlier than Sept. 29.
“It’s very exciting,” she told ICT about being the first Native woman in space. “I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”
This is NASA’s fifth crew rotation flight as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. As mission commander on the SpaceX spacecraft called Dragon, Mann is leading all phases of the flight from launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. She will also serve as the Expedition 68 flight engineer on the space station.
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