NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps was on track to become the first African-American crew member on the International Space Station this year, but the space agency announced today that she has been pulled from her mission for unspecified reasons. She was supposed to launch as part of Expedition 56/67 in June 2018.
Instead, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor will be taking Epps’ place. Like Epps, Auñón-Chancellor was one of the 14 astronaut candidates that NASA selected out of 3,500 applicants in 2009. Epps came to NASA by way of a PhD in aerospace engineering and seven years at the CIA as a technical intelligence officer. Auñón-Chancellor is medical doctor with certifications in internal and aerospace medicine.