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After UCLA and JPL, Jessica Watkins Is First Black, Female Crew Member On The International Space Station

Jessica Watkins stands in a NASA blue jumpsuit, arms crossed, with a big picture of the earth behind her
Jessica Watkins is the first Black woman to be a member of the ISS crew.
(Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
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Rookie NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is making aerospace history.

Following the launch of SpaceX from Cape Canaveral in Florida Wednesday, Watkins is poised to become the first Black woman to serve as a crew member on the International Space Station.

She is part of the Crew-4 mission, which, according to the SpaceX website, will conduct over 200 science experiments that astronauts hope will “prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.”

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A graduate of UCLA and Stanford, Watkins worked at NASA's JPL in Pasadena and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Cal Tech when she was selected as an astronaut candidate in 2017,

Other Black women have flown in space, but she will be the first to serve as a long-term member of the space station crew.

For the next six months, Watkins will serve as a mission specialist along with three other crew members.

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