Black NASA astronaut is replaced in sudden crew shuffle

Black NASA astronaut is replaced in sudden crew shuffle

Black NASA astronaut is replaced in sudden crew shuffle

Astronaut Jeanette Epps, scheduled for launch to the International Space Station in June, has been replaced in an unexpected crew shuffle.

Jeanette Epps, 46, a former Central Intelligence Agency agent turned astronaut, was about to become the first African-American to embark on a mission lasting several months at the International Space Station.

In this September 16, 2014 photo provided by NASA, astronaut Jeanette Epps participates in a spacewalk training session at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Nasa has not given an explanation behind pulling back her but rather says she will be considered for future missions.

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

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She filled in as a specialized knowledge officer for a long time before being chosen as an individual from Nasa's 2009 space explorer class.

"I get very excited when I think about being up in space, partly because I compare it to going into a war zone", Epps told Elle magazine previous year.

When people come back from space, I see how much they want to go again.

The release said Epps would return to Johnson Space Center in Houston to return to work in the Astronaut Office.

Epps was to have launched to the ISS from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, alongside astronaut Alexander Gerst from the German European Space Agency (Esa) and the flight's commander, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopev on Expedition 56/57. Since completing her training she's worked on various NASA operations and further training while awaiting mission assignment. Astronaut Anne McClain will take Auñón-Chancellor's place on the Soyuz MS-11 crew. Space station crews typically stay for five to six months.

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