While writing a couple of posts for February’s upcoming Black History Month, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced it was making a crew switch of astronauts slated to stay aboard the International Space Station.
Astronaut Jeanette Epps was slated to become the first African American crew member to live on the ISS, but was suddenly replaced on her upcoming June 20187 flight—Expedition 56/57—by Serena Auñón-Chancellor.
Auñón-Chancellor had trained with Epp in astronaut school.
Epps has returned to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, United States of America. What sucks for her, is that she had already begun specific training for that mission.
While NASA did not cite a reason, Henry Epps, Jeanette’s brother has accused the space agency of out-right racism.
“My sister Dr. Jeannette Epps has been fighting against oppressive racism and misogynist in NASA and now they are holding her back and allowing a Caucasian Astronaut to take her place!” Henry Epps wrote in a Facebook post Saturday (the post has since been removed). He linked to a MoveOn.org petition asking NASA to reinstate Epps.
I don’t know why NASA removed Epps from active duty—perhaps it’s a private medical issue—whatever, but I’m giving NASA the benefit of the doubt here. There’s no racism involved.
Now Henry Epps alleges that his sister has been fighting “oppressive racism and misogynist” in NASA… well, if he can back that up, we’ll have a story… if not, let’s get the full story.
Maybe someone should just ask astronaut Epps… and if she refuses to answer with “why”, then drop it. It’s between her and NASA.
Now, as to Henry Epps claims of NASA-based racism, astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will actually be the first Hispanic woman in space. Racism? It all depends on perspective.