For the first time, NASA is sending a Black astronaut to the international space station.

Jeanette Epps, a former CIA technical intelligence officer and member of NASA’s 20th class of astronauts, will head to the space station veteran astronaut Andrew Feustel in 2018.

“Each space station crew brings something different to the table, and Drew and Jeanette both have a lot to offer,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Other Black astronauts have ventured out into space on shuttle missions, but Epps will be the first to be on the space station. To prepare, the New York native has a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland and was trained in Russian so that she can communicate with other crew members.

“The space station will benefit from having them on board,” said Cassidy.

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