Epps, who became part of NASA’s astronaut program in 2009, received the notice that she will serve as a flight engineer who’ll conduct research and maintenance on the ISS. The former CIA officer said in a past interview with the Lenny Letter that she can’t contain her excitement given the news. “It’s unreal,” Epps said. “Even now that it’s close, I’m like, ‘I won’t believe it until I’m there.'”
Other distinguished African-American astronauts have traveled aboard various US space shuttle journeys, but Epps holds the title as the first of her race to leave her imprint on the space station.
This news arrives after the shamefully untold story of three African-American women who stood at the forefront of successfully sending astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Depicted in the movie Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan’s career-stories play out on the silver screen and educate moviegoers on a moment in time that should find a home in history lessons.