Jessica Watkins Set To Become First Black Woman To Join International Space Station Crew As NASA Names Her For SpaceX Crew-4 Mission

Jessica Watkins is set to become the first Black woman to join the crew at the International Space Station next year. 

What Happened: U.S. space agency NASA on Tuesday named Watkins to serve as a mission specialist on the agency’s upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk-owned SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is expected to ferry Watkins and three other astronauts to the International Space Station in April 2022, who would then spend six months at the microgravity laboratory.

Watkins was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2017.

The other astronauts joining Watkins include Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, as crew for the Crew-4 mission.

Watkins has a bachelor's degree in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford University and a doctorate in geology from University of California.

See Also: SpaceX Docks Crew-3 Astronauts With International Space Station Nearly A Day After Taking Flight

In September, Sian Proctor, a member of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 amateur astronaut mission that went to orbit but not to the space station, became the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot. 

Falcon 9 capsule last week delivered four Crew-3 astronauts to the ISS, uniting them with the three crew members aboard the space station that orbits on, average, 248 miles above earth. 

The Crew-3 astronauts are expected to leave the orbiting laboratory and return to Earth after a six-month stay.

The Big Picture: SpaceX and NASA are working on multiple projects including a $2.9 billion lunar landing contract. Musk dreams of colonizing Mars and has in the past said he remains “highly confident” that SpaceX would land humans on Mars by 2026.

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Posted In: NewsInternational Space StationJessica WatkinsNASASPACESpace TravelSpaceX
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