SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Black female astronaut from Syracuse is about to embark on a journey to NASA’s International Space Station for the very first time.

NASA astronaut Dr. Jeanette J. Epps is assigned to launch on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission for a long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station.

She will join Expedition 70 and 71 crew members aboard the station as Mission Specialist in early 2024 to conduct a wide-ranging set of operational and research activities.

Epps is from Syracuse and earned her bachelor’s in physics from LeMoyne College and a master’s in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Expedition 54-55 backup and Jeanette Epps of NASA. Courtesy of NASA.

Before joining NASA in July 2009, Epps worked at Ford Motor Company and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a Technical Intelligence Officer before becoming an astronaut.

Since being selected as a NASA astronaut, she has served on the Generic Joint Operation Panel working on space station crew efficiency, as a crew support astronaut for two expeditions, and as lead capsule communicator in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Epps was previously assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, but NASA reassigned Epps to allow the Boeing company time to complete development of Starliner, while also continuing plans for astronauts to gain spaceflight experience for future mission needs.