Jessica Watkins  Will Become First Black Woman on NASA’s International Space Station Crew

(Photo credit: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images)

Black History

Jessica Watkins  Will Become First Black Woman on NASA’s International Space Station Crew

 By Victor Trammell

Jessica Watkins (pictured) is on her way to becoming  the first African American woman to serve on the International Space Station’s crew, according to NASA.

SpaceX Crew-4, also known as the Crew Dragon spacecraft, will transport NASA’s astronauts to the International Space Station. According to NASA, Watkins, 33, will serve as a mission specialist on the agency’s Crew-4 assignment. Watkins was chosen as an astronaut in 2017, and this will be her first trip to the International Space Station. The crew will be ready to launch in April 2022, according to the schedule.

NASA astronauts Kiell Lindgren and Robert Hines will accompany Watkins on his mission. Samantha Cristoforetti, an astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), will also join the mission as a crew member.

Watkins was born in Gaithersburg, Maryland and reared in the Colorado town of Lafayette. Stanford University awarded her a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental sciences, which she went on to complete. The University of California awarded her a PhD in geology, which she has also completed. Ames Research Center was the site of her first internship with NASA, which she completed during the early stages of her professional career.

“I’ve always been interested in science, particularly being passionate about planetary science. In an interview with the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Watkins elaborates further on laying the foundation for kids to discover passions early on in life,” Watkins said during a 2016 documentary.

“As a younger person, I think your best bet is to get involved with as much as you can. I talked about kind of finding your passion, but the only way you’re really going to do that is if you get to experience lots of different things,” she continued.

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