Nicole Aunapu Mann Makes History as the First Native American Woman in Space

Nicole Aunapu Mann has become the first Native American woman in space. As we previously reported, Mann was due to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft. One of the most impressive aspects of this historic achievement is that she has done so as mission commander. Mann is only the second Native American in space—the first being John Herrington, who flew on a 2002 space shuttle mission. As of March 2022, only 75 women had been to space.

Mann is also the first woman to command a Crew Dragon capsule. She was joined by pilot Josh Cassada, as well as mission specialists Anna Kikina, from Roscosmos, and Koichi Wakata, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The SpaceX Crew-5 mission was launched last week, and throughout their six-month mission they will carry out over 200 experiments to advance human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Their research will include studies on how microgravity affects the cardiorespiratory system, modeling heart tissue to improve treatments for spaceflight-caused health issues, and the 3D bioprinting of human organs.

Mann, who is a member of the Wailacki of Round Valley Indian Tribes in northern California, is also a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and was previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her career in NASA started in 2013, after being selected as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class, the first to include equal numbers of men and women.

In an interview with Indian News Today, she said she was excited about being the first Native American woman in space, and spoke about the significance of these efforts: “I think it's important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”

Nicole Aunapu Mann has made history as the first Native American woman in space.

She did so as mission commander of Crew-5, and is also the first woman to command a Crew Dragon capsule.

Nicole Aunapu Mann: Twitter
h/t: [Popular Science]

All images via NASA.

Related Articles:

Scientists Develop Motor To Make Oxygen on Mars To Support Astronaut Life

U.S. Quarter Honoring NASA Astronaut Sally Ride Is Officially in Circulation Now

NASA Just Made History by Successfully Crashing a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid

NASA’s JunoCam Shares Stunning Rendering of Jupiter’s “Frosting-Like” Clouds

Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content