First Native American Woman Will Travel To Space
The first Native American woman will travel to space next month. Mission Commander Astronaut Nicole “Duke” Aunapu Mann is part of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. She will lead the team of eight, created for Space Station operations to the Moon and Mars.
As the Mission Commander, Duke is responsible for the decision-making during each phase of the flight. Leaving September 29, this will be her first space flight. Packing for the trip takes planning, as each person’s only allowed 3.3lbs. of personal items. With her, she will bring a dreamcatcher. It signifies protection and unification.
What we can expect?
The team of four will conduct 250 missions while at the International Space Station. NASA says the trip may even proceed to the Moon. At the end of the mission, the team hopes the missions will prepare for further space exploration and to advance life on Earth.
Mission Commander Astronaut Nicole “Duke” Aunapu Mann:
After graduating from the US Naval Academy with her Bachelor’s degree (and as a soccer star), she enrolled in the Marines. There, colleagues coined her with the nickname, “Duke” because of her John Wayne like gait. She continued her education at Stanford, both of her degrees in Mechanical Engineering, the latter specialized in Fluid Mechanics. According to Click Orlando, “The California native [then] served as a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and a test pilot for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.” She was part of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan before her selection for the NASA astronaut program in 2013.
The first of many:
As the first Native American woman to space Duke says: “It’s very exciting… I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids… realise that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”