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NASA cancels African-American astronaut's first flight to space

19 January 2018

NASA recently announced that they had removed USA astronaut Jeanette Epps from the team headed on an upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS) just a few months before launch.

Meanwhile, the would-be space voyager will assume duties at the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

The reasons for the removal of this particular USA astronaut are unclear, as Jeanette Epps certainly seems to be qualified in all senses of the word.

The space agency's announcement stopped short of explaining why Epps was removed in the first place.

Jeanette Epps, a 47-year-old former Central Intelligence Agency agent from Syracuse, was removed from the position aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and replaced by another astronaut, NASA sources told the BBC. "ISS operations will continue with critical personnel", Kenneth Todd, NASA's ISS operations integration manager, said during a briefing on Thursday (Jan. 18), in which he discussed two upcoming spacewalks that NASA astronauts will conduct on Jan. 23 and Jan. 29.

The space agency has not disclosed its reasons for Epps removal from the team, but says she is being considered for future endeavors.

Dr Epps was to have been the main African-American astronaut appointed to the space station group.

She worked as a technical intelligence officer for seven years before being selected as a member of Nasa's 2009 astronaut class.

She would have flown on board a Russian Soyuz flight in June yet is being supplanted by another space traveler.

Nasa offered no explanation behind the choice to expel her from the Expedition 56/57 mission.

She's been replaced by her backup, Serena Aunon-Chancellor. Dr Auñón-Chancellor previously spent more than nine months in Russian Federation supporting medical operations for space station crew members.

NASA cancels African-American astronaut's first flight to space