Sci-tech

NASA Bumps Jeanette Epps From International Space Station Crew Ahead Of Launch

NASA Bumps Jeanette Epps From International Space Station Crew Ahead Of Launch

Jeanette Epps, a 47-year-old former Central Intelligence Agency agent from Syracuse, was removed from the position aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and replaced by another astronaut, NASA sources told the BBC.

Dr Epps was to have been the main African-American astronaut appointed to the space station group.

NASA has removed American astronaut Jeanette Epps from the roster of crew members leaving for the next mission to the International Space Station, just months prior to launch.

"A number of factors are considered when making flight assignments [and] decisions are personnel matters for which NASA doesn't provide information", an agency spokesperson said in an email, adding that Epps will undergo the next phase of her training in Houston.

Epps was supposed to blast off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan in June, to serve as a flight engineer on the ISS as part of Expedition 56, and remaining on board for Expedition 57.

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Nasa offered no explanation behind the choice to expel her from the Expedition 56/57 mission. Each expedition's tour of duty typically lasts three months.

NASA announced late Thursday that it was pulling Epps off the mission but didn't disclose why.

Epps earned her doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland in 2000.

She filled in as a specialized knowledge officer for a long time before being chosen as an individual from Nasa's 2009 space explorer class.

The release said Epps would return to Johnson Space Center in Houston to return to work in the Astronaut Office. Astronaut Anne McClain will take Auñón-Chancellor's place on the Soyuz MS-11 crew.