Jessica Watkins, a space station manager and civilian employee of NASA, will be the first woman of color to travel to space, The New York Times reported. Watkins will be accompanying two Russian cosmonauts during a planned two-day trip in the year 2020.
Speaking to The Times last month, Watkins reflected on her goals to become a space commander: “I want to be the woman of color in charge of those people. For me, that’s a mission.” According to NASA’s website, since 1994 women have comprised just 8 percent of astronauts flying into space.
As far as long-duration trips into space, NASA plans to send four more people to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2020 as part of a mission called Crew Exploration Vehicle-2 (CEV-2). In the current mission to the ISS, there are currently three Americans and two Russians aboard. Watkins will be living in Russia during the ride to the ISS.
NASA’s Chief Scientist David A. Lowin said he expects to see more women of color in space missions. “We have realized that the next chapter is women of color taking off,” he said, “and hopefully we’ll see some diversity in front and back.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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