Black woman named as first Black woman to fly in Nasa’s space shuttle

Doctor is one of three men and two women who will make up the six-person crew in October

The first Black woman to be part of the International Space Station (ISS) crew will embark on a 12-day mission on board the station on 19 October, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) announced on Wednesday.

Jessica Watkins, a doctor, is scheduled to fly up with two Russian cosmonauts and two astronauts from the European Space Agency, NASA said. Watkins, who was picked to be the first Black astronaut on the ISS in 2011, is one of three men and two women who will make up the six-person crew, NASA said.

“Spaceflight is about exploring and looking for new frontiers. We have a new frontier to explore. NASA is going to be one of the first to do that,” Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

“When you look at spaceflight in its totality, in many cases NASA has set a goal that has very little direct reflection on Americans. The majority of humanity is going to explore space in the coming years, and in many cases we lead in this effort. I’m proud of that legacy.”

At just 43 years old, Watkins is expected to become the youngest woman in the history of the ISS to have made it to orbit. She has said before she won’t spend all her time on the ISS.

“It’s going to be great to go back and forth, share experiences,” Watkins told NBC in 2016. “Obviously, it’s a great accomplishment. I’m extremely honoured to have the opportunity to go.”

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