In 2018, Jeanette Epps was taken off of a Russian spacecraft that would’ve made her the first woman to go into space for an extended time. But now, she’s going into space on Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner is going to become the first woman to join the International Space Station Crew. (The Starliner is a private capsule that’s going to bring astronauts back and forth from the International Space Centre (ISS)).

In 1983, Guion Bluford was the first of many African Americans to go into space. But as of now, none have been on any drawn-out missions or been a part of the expeditions. Eeps is going to be the first, so she is making tremendous strides in history.

If you’re excited to learn more about this trailblazing empowered woman, keep on reading: 

Some Background On Epps

Born on November 3rd, 1970 as Jeanette Jo Epps to a family of 7 children, Jeanette and her twin sister always had an extraordinary talent for the sciences and maths. 

Her parents, Henry and Luberta, were born in Mississippi. But they moved up north to Syracuse, New York as part of the Great Migration. (The Great Migration marked the movement of 6 million African Americans from the rural Southern US to the metropolitan Northeast. This process was to avoid poor monetary conditions and horrible racial segregation.)

Epps graduated from LeMoyne College back in 1992 with a physics degree. Afterwards, she continued to obtain a graduate degree in science in 1994 from the University of Maryland. 

While obtaining her Ph. D., she wrote several NASA-related articles. She was also the co-creator of quite a few patents. The CIA recruited her shortly after recognizing how skilled and gifted she is in her field. 

Why wasn’t Epps able to join the Russian space crew mission back in 2018? The public still doesn’t know the answer to this. Epps isn’t entirely sure why this happened either. But she’s certain that she formed decent relationships with everyone there. So she is sure that it wasn’t the choice of her colleagues. 

Creating History

In addition to her already numerous awards, Epps was about to make history with the team of Expedition 56. She would have been able to spend half a year upkeep the space laboratory had she been allowed to go. And she also would’ve been conducting several experiments in space! 

Many people see her being cut from the crew as a snub act. But Epps feels sure that it was a managerial decision- which is something that they need to work on. 

But it’s inspiring that just a year from now, Jeanette Epps will be the first Black woman ever to be on an extended space mission. This 2021 expedition will be Epps’s first space flight. She absolutely deserves to enjoy her space journey after years of:

  • Studying diligently in undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • Briefly working for the CIA
  • And being removed from her first “would-be” venture into space.

Historial Implications

Jeannette Epps’s imminent venture into space is so important for so many reasons. First, she’s breaking through ceilings that were previously put over women as a whole. And these were held over Black women for even longer. 

Secondly, her dedication to her field, intelligence, and success is an inspiration to women. It shows us how we are capable of much more than the patriarchy would want you to believe.

Interested in more content where we discuss empowered women and the importance of lifting up Black women? Check out our article Breonna Taylor: Why We Need to Empower Black Women.