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Black History Fact - Jeanette Epps

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Astronaut Jeanette Epps (born November 3, 1970) made African-American history on January 4, 2017, when NASA announced that she’d be the first African American astronaut to board the International Space Station.

While NASA has sent 14 black astronauts into space over the decades, none have ever stayed aboard the ISS as a crew member. Epps was the first African American and the 13th woman to call the ISS home since the space station launched in 1998. According to NASA, Epps, from Syracuse, New York, joined astronaut Andrew Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56 in May 2018. She stayed on board for Expedition 57.

Epps earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She completed a Master’s of Science in 1994 and a doctorate in 2000 in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.

As a NASA Fellow during graduate school, Dr. Epps authored several highly referenced journal and conference articles describing her research. Her graduate research involved extensive testing of composite swept‐tip beams, comparative analysis of analytical models and experimental data for shape memory alloys, and the application of shape memory alloy actuators for tracking helicopter rotor blades.

After completing graduate school, Dr. Epps spent more than two years working at Ford Motor Company as a Technical Specialist in the Scientific Research Laboratory. Before leaving Ford, she completed proof‐of‐concept work on using magnetostrictive actuators to reduce vibrations that enter a vehicle via the suspension control arms, which resulted in a provisional patent. Also, while at Ford, Dr. Epps participated in research involving automobile collision location detection and countermeasure systems, which granted a U.S. Patent.

In 2002, Dr. Epps joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She spent more than seven years working as a Technical Intelligence Officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class. She received multiple performance rewards for her work at the CIA.

Info eNConnect Consulting celebrates Jeanette Epps for Black History Month.


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