NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins to fly to space

By Laura Tedesco, CNN • Updated 11th July 2018 US astronaut Jessica Watkins is joining the crew of the International Space Station this summer after setting the record for most spacewalks by a woman…

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins to fly to space

By Laura Tedesco, CNN • Updated 11th July 2018

US astronaut Jessica Watkins is joining the crew of the International Space Station this summer after setting the record for most spacewalks by a woman in 2015.

Watkins will join European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy on the 11-month mission in October. Her mission will mark the first time a woman has served as a Commander on the station, the White House said in a statement announcing the announcement.

Watkins is a retired naval aviator and pilot who flew on her first mission in 2001 and again in 2005. She is fluent in French and Russian, and has been teaching English to schoolchildren in space for more than a decade. She is currently on an expedition in the Arctic and Antarctica, NASA said in a statement.

“I’m incredibly honored to represent the crew of Expedition 55 and the United States in the year of our centennial, and grateful to my classmates, supervisors, colleagues, and the US Air Force Academy for their support,” Watkins said in a statement.

NASA astronauts Bruce Lindsey and Nicole Stott will return to Earth after their Expedition 55 mission, which began on June 15. Their return was delayed by about four months when an air leak was discovered during a spacewalk in April.

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