NASA drops astronaut from mission

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 22, 2018

- NASA has bumped an astronaut off an upcoming spaceflight, a rare move for the space agency so close to launch.

Dr. Epps would have been the first black astronaut to step foot on the International Space Station. Late Thursday, NASA announced it was pulling Epps off the mission but didn't disclose why. Astronauts have been removed from missions in the past, mostly for health reasons.

"Before being selected as an astronaut, she spent more than nine months in Russian Federation supporting medical operations for space station crew members, including water survival training in the Ukraine, and served as the deputy lead for medical operations for NASA's Orion spacecraft".

It's still unclear why, but plans for her June liftoff suddenly changed, and another astronaut was chosen in her place, NASA has announced.

Epps, an engineer, will be considered for future space missions, according to NASA.

It would have been the NY native's first trip to space, and the first long-duration stay at the orbiting outpost by an African-American.

Dr. Epps was born in Syracuse, New York and finished her doctorate in aerospace engineering in 2000.

She's been replaced by her backup, Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a doctor.

"She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class", her biography says. Auñón-Chancellor has spent over nine months in Russian Federation where she supported medical operations for space station crew members.

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