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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASAs SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide onboard, Friday, April 23, 2021, at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

When NASA launches its new crew to the International Space Station this fall, one astronaut will be making history. According to Good Morning America, Nicole Aunapu Mann is set to become the first Native American woman in space when she serves as the commander of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission. She’ll be joined by astronaut and pilot Josh Cassada, astronaut Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

Mann, an enrolled member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, was born in California, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, earned her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford and went on to become a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. She’s been deployed twice to serve on aircraft carriers, where she flew missions to support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and she’s earned six medals for her military service. This will be her first space flight since becoming an astronaut in 2013.

During the upcoming mission, which is set to launch on Monday, October 3rd, Mann and the team will do scientific experiments to help life on Earth and prepare for human exploration of outer space and they’ll get the chance to do a couple of spacewalks, too. In her allocated 3.3-pounds of personal items, Mann plans to bring her wedding ring and a gift her mom gave her when she was young – a dream catcher.

Source: Good Morning America

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