Jessica Watkins To Be First Black Woman To Join International Space Station Crew

The NASA astronaut is set to depart on her historic mission to the space station in April.

NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins is set to make history as the first Black woman to go on a mission to the International Space Station as part of the crew.

On Tuesday, NASA announced that Watkins will serve as a crew member on an upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission, set to launch in April and last six months.

In the 21 years since the space station first began orbiting Earth, only seven of the 249 people who have been there were Black, reported The New York Times.

Last year, Victor Glover became the first Black astronaut to live and work there on a long-term mission lasting more than just a couple of weeks, and now Watkins will be the first Black woman to do so.

Watkins told the New York Times that she hopes her mission to the space station would serve young girls of color as “an example of ways that they can participate and succeed.”

In 2018, another astronaut, Jeanette Epps, was set to make history as the first Black woman to live at the space station, but she was replaced by another astronaut without explanation from NASA. At the time, her brother alleged the decision was a result of racism at the agency. NASA did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Watkins, who is from Colorado, went to Stanford University for her undergraduate degree and then got her doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles. She started her career at NASA as an intern, and the space station mission will be her first trip to space after being selected as an astronaut in 2017.