Having previously publicised Jeanette Epps planned flight to the International Space Station (ISS) to make her the first African American on the space station (and fourth in orbit), there is now a mystery about why NASA has now replaced her for the mission. The original plan was for her to ride to the ISS on the Russian Soyuz MS-09 flight in June.
Epps, who has a doctorate in aerospace engineering and who was a former CIA technical intelligence operative, has now been replaced by the female astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor, a medical doctor and a former NASA flight surgeon. She will now take the Soyuz ride to the ISS. The cause of this change has not been disclosed.
Comment by David Todd: While this blog has its reservations about pro-diversity positive discrimination, deliberate negative discrimination on the basis of race or colour, as has been alleged by some in this case, is far worse. We hope that this is not true and that Epps was deselected for other reasons. We will, no doubt, find out the cause of astronaut Epps’ replacement in due course. It maybe that the Russians were not keen on having a former CIA spy flying on their kit.