US Astronaut Removed From Mission By NASA Ahead Of ISS Trip

US Astronaut Removed From Mission By NASA Ahead Of ISS Trip

She would have flown aboard a scheduled Russian Soyuz flight in June, but is now being replaced by another astronaut.

Epps would have been the first African American astronaut to live on the ISS.

The first black female astronaut ever assigned to an International Space Station was yanked from the mission just months before it was set to launch, according to a report Friday.

In a 2017 interview with Elle magazine, Epps said, "I get very excited when I think about being up in space, partly because I compare it to going into a war zone".

NASA selected Syracuse, New York-born Epps as an astronaut in 2009, and the May spaceflight would have been her first.

When people come back from space, I see how much they want to go again.

"Serena Aunon-Chancellor, who previously was assigned to Expedition 58/59, has been reassigned to the Expedition 56/57 crew, launching in June", NASA announced.

"A number of factors are considered when making flight assignments; these decisions are personnel matters, for which NASA doesn't provide information", NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said.

Epps will now assume duties at the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston. After the completion of her PhD, she spent two years working in a laboratory before being recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

As mentioned above, there's now no word on why she was removed, but the BBC reports that NASA did reiterate that she's eligible for future missions - which makes the removal more confusing than it does explain why exactly it happened.

NASA does not comment on its reasons for reassigning astronauts.

Fellow astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of Colorado will take Epps place instead, an agency press release stated. Dr Auñón-Chancellor beforehand spent over nine months in Russian Federation supporting therapeutic operations for space station team individuals.