New York (CNN Business)Two years ago, NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps was slated to fly into orbit aboard a Russian spacecraft and become the first Black astronaut to serve as a crew member of the International Space Station. At the last minute, Epps was removed from that assignment with no explanation. Though more than a dozen Black Americans have traveled to space since Guion Bluford became the first to do so in 1983, none has had the opportunity to live and work in space for an extended period, as the ISS has enabled more than 200 astronauts to do since 2000. On Tuesday, after years of speculation about why NASA removed Epps from her assignment, she was finally reassigned. NASA said she will join astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada on a 2021 mission aboard a Boeing-built Starliner spacecraft, a vehicle still under development that is expected to re-do a key test flight later this year. Epps has a doctorate in aerospace engineering and served seven years as a technical intelligence officer at the CIA before joining the astronaut corps in 2009. NASA said in 2017 that Epps wouid make history by joining the crew of Expedition 56. During ISS expeditions,… Read full this story
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