While pursuing her undergraduate and graduate studies Watkins interned for NASA at the Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Society USA26. November 2021

International Space Station Onboards Its First Black Woman

The first-ever Black American woman is scheduled to complete a long-term mission in the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022, showing colored children that the sky is literally the limit.

“Particularly young girls of color, to be able to see an example of ways that they can participate and succeed,” says NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins. “For me, that’s been really important, and so if I can contribute to that in some way, that’s definitely worth it.”

Watkins will embark on her first voyage into space in April 2022 and will serve as the team’s mission specialist aboard the SpaceX Crew-4 launch for a total of six months in the ISS’s microgravity laboratory. She did her doctorate on landslides and other surface processes on Mars, and her postdoctorate as a member of NASA’s Curiosity Rover at the California Institute of Technology. The young woman is among 18 astronauts who will form NASA’s Artemis team, the first crew to set foot on the moon since Apollo missions some five decades ago.

Smithsonian Magazine

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