Jeanette Epps

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Jeanette J. Epps
Jeanette J. Epps.jpg
Born (1970-11-03) November 3, 1970 (age 49)
OccupationTechnical Intelligence Officer, Technical Specialist at Ford Motor Company
Space career
NASA Astronaut
Selection2009 NASA Group

Jeanette Jo Epps (born November 3, 1970) is an American aerospace engineer and NASA astronaut.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Jeanette Epps was born in Syracuse, New York,[1] one of seven children born to Henry and Luberta (née Jackson) Epps, Mississippians who moved to Syracuse as part of the Great Migration.[4][5][6] She and her twin sister Janet excelled in math and science.[4] She graduated from Corcoran High School in Syracuse and earned a B.S. degree from Le Moyne College and an M.S. and a Ph.D degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.[1][7][8][4]


After graduating, Epps worked in research at Ford Motor Company, then as a Technical Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.[7] She worked at the CIA for seven years, including deployments to Iraq.[9]

In June 2009, Epps was selected as an astronaut candidate[1] and qualified in 2011.[7] She subsequently served as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 18 undersea exploration mission for nine days starting July 21, 2014.[10][11]

On January 4, 2017, NASA announced that Epps would be assigned as a flight engineer to the International Space Station in mid-2018 for Expeditions 56 and 57, becoming the first African American space station crew member[12], the first African American to launch aboard the Russian Soyuz vehicle,[13] and the 15th African American to fly in space,[14] but on January 16, 2018, NASA announced that Epps had been replaced by her backup Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, but that Epps would "be considered for assignment to future missions".[15] African-American astronauts have visited the space station, but Epps would have been the first to live there. The reason for Epps' removal was not stated, and NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said, "These decisions are personnel matters for which NASA doesn't provide information."[16] On January 20, Epps' brother Henry posted a statement on Facebook, since deleted, that "My sister Dr. Jeannette Epps has been fighting against oppressive racism and misogyny in NASA and now they are holding her back and allowing a Caucasian Astronaut to take her place!" Jeanette Epps stated that she could not comment on her brother's post or the reason why she was pulled off the mission, but did state that she has no medical condition or family problem preventing her from flying, and that her training had been successful. The Washington Post stated that "Last-minute crew changes are not unusual at NASA."[14][17][18]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b c d NASA HQ (June 29, 2009). "NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  2. ^ NASA (June 29, 2009). "In Their Own Words: Jeanette J. Epps". NASA. Archived from the original on October 28, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Lichter-Marck, Rose (2016-07-29). "The Lenny Interview: Jeanette Epps". Lenny. Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2016-07-31.
  4. ^ a b c "Syracuse native, a Le Moyne graduate, trains to be an astronaut". Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  5. ^ "Mammie Jackson's Obituary on Syracuse Post Standard". Syracuse Post Standard. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  6. ^ Jr, Mr Henry Harrison Epps (2015-06-14). Second Chance Connections Inc Handbook: Restoration Manuel. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781514352489.
  7. ^ a b c "JEANETTE J. EPPS: Biographical data". NASA. May 2011. Retrieved 14 Feb 2014.
  8. ^ "Jeanette J. Epps Oral History". NASA. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Nasa removes US astronaut from ISS mission". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  10. ^ "NASA Announces Two Upcoming Undersea Missions". NASA. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Bergin, Chris (June 11, 2014). "NEEMO returns with two new underwater missions". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  12. ^ Karen Northon (January 4, 2017). "NASA Assigns Upcoming Space Station Crew Members". NASA press release 17-001. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  13. ^ Roberts, Thomas G. (2018). "Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Why NASA Must Continue to Launch a Diverse Astronaut Corps". CSIS Aerospace Security. Retrieved 1 Jul 2020.
  14. ^ a b Kaplan, Sarah (22 January 2018). "NASA pulled this astronaut from a space station crew. Her brother blames racism". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  15. ^ Karen Northon (January 18, 2018). "NASA Announces Updated Crew Assignments for Space Station Missions". NASA press release 18-004. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "NASA removes astronaut Jeanette Epps, Syracuse high school grad, from flight crew". Retrieved 2018-01-21.
  17. ^ "NASA's Jeanette Epps' brother blames racism for why she got removed from her upcoming mission". Newsweek. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  18. ^ "NASA faces calls for reinstatement of first African American on International Space Station crew". Houston Chronicle. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

External links[edit]