NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins will become the first Black woman on the International Space Station Crew She is set to launch into space in April 2022 on the SpaceX Crew-4 mission, according to NASA.
Jessica Watkins was selected as an astronaut candidate in 2017 and prepared for her first space mission since then. The other three Crew members on the mission include NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines, as well as the European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti.
This is the fourth Crew rotation flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. The team will blast into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The astronauts will spend six months in the ISS microgravity laboratory conducting scientific research.Jessica Watkins attended Stanford University in California and earned her bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences, then went on to earn a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The astronaut has a long history with NASA, having begun her career there as an intern, and she previously held roles at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.She was a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity while working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.