Mann will go up as part of SpaceX Crew-5 at the end of September.
When NASA astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann launches to the International Orbit Station next month, she will become the first Native American woman in space. She will also be the first female commander of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, leading Space-X Crew 5, which is set to launch on September 29.
“I believe it’s vital that we share this to our community so that other Native students, if they felt this wasn’t a possibility or know that some of those boundaries that used to be there are really starting to be torn down,” Mann told Indian Country Today.
Mann is a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Northern California and has worked for NASA since 2013. She previously worked as an engineer in the United States military and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
She will be joined on Crew-5 by NASA’s Josh Cassada, the Japanese Space Agency’s Koichi Wakata, and Roscomos Anna Kikina. Wakata is the only one of the four who has traveled to space before. Each has a limited quantity of personal belongings they can bring up because shipping stuff to space is expensive.
They have 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of personal stuff to bring, and Mann has already planned what she will bring.
“I have some special gifts for my family that I can’t say anything about since they’re a surprise.” “I’m definitely taking my wedding rings, as well as a dream catcher that my mother gave me when I was very little,” Mann told Indian Country Today. “It’s always stuck with me throughout my life.”
Mann is also preparing for the Artemis Program, in which he hopes to be among those who walk on the Moon’s surface over the next decade.
[h/t: Indian Country Today]
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