[BBC News] First Native American woman to travel to space

Next month Nasa will send a new crew into space. And for the first time there will be a Native American woman aboard.

Astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, will be mission commander – responsible for all phases of flight.

She will go to the International Space Station on 29 September, Nasa says.

“It’s very exciting,” she told newspaper Indian Country Today.

“I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids… realise that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down,” she added.

Ms Mann says that in her allocated 3.3 lb (1.4kg) for personal items she will take “a dreamcatcher that my mother gave me when I was very young”.

According to the Indigenous Foundation, dreamcatchers symbolise unity and provide protection.

Ms Mann will be with three colleagues on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of the Crew-5 mission.

She could also go to the Moon. In 2020 she was selected to be in a pool of astronauts eligible for Nasa’s Artemis programme that will send humans to the Moon.

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