Aug 18, 2022 - Science

Nicole Aunapu Mann set to be first Native American woman in space

NASA astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann is seen during a NASA event on Aug. 3, 2018, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

Astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann is part of the NASA crew set to launch into space aboard the SpaceX Dragon next month.

Why it matters: Mann will become the first Native American woman to travel to space.

What she's saying: "It's very exciting," Mann said in an interview with Indian Country Today about being the first Native American woman in space.

  • "I think it's important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down," she said.
  • Mann is an enrolled member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Northern California, per Indian Country Today.

Details: NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission is the fifth rotational mission to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

  • Mann is due to be joined by NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, according a statement from NASA.

Of note: Astronaut John Herrington was the first Native American in space in 2002.

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