- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2018

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was set to make history as the first black to make a long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station, has been removed from the mission just months before launch.

Ms. Epps was scheduled to launch from Kazakhstan in June for a 143-day stay in space as part of Expedition 56/67. NASA announced Thursday, however, that the Syracuse native would be replaced by astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, who had been assigned to a station flight scheduled for launch in November, CBS News reported. Astronaut Anne McClain will be taking Ms. Auñón-Chancellor’s place on the November flight.

No explanation for the move was given.

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“A number of factors are considered when making flight assignments; these decisions are personnel matters, for which NASA doesn’t provide information,” NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean told CBS News.

A NASA press release said Ms. Epps will return to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston “to assume duties in the Astronaut Office and be considered for assignment to future missions.”

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