- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The brother of astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was set to make history as the first black person to make a long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station, has accused NASA of “oppressive racism” after his sister was inexplicably removed from the mission just months before launch.

Ms. Epps was previously scheduled to launch from Kazakhstan in June for a 143-day stay in space as part of Expedition 56/67 until NASAannounced Thursday that the Syracuse native would be replaced by astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor.

No reason for the move was given. Ms. Epps told The Washington Post in an article Monday that it’s not because of a medical condition or family issue.

Ms. Epps‘ brother, Henry Epps, told Syracuse.com that his sister has been talking with lawyers about her removal from the mission.

He also shared a MoveOn.org petition on his Facebook page calling for her reinstatement, and wrote that “oppressive racism” and misogyny in NASA was to blame for her removal.

“My sister Dr. Jeannette Epps has been fighting against oppressive racism and misogynist in NASA and now they are holding her back and allowing a Caucasian Astronaut to take her place!” Henry Epps wrote Saturday in a now-deleted post, Syracuse.com reported.

“We have lost all of the gains we gained over the past 40 years in one year? No more!” he wrote. “We cannot continue to tolerate what is going on in America but we must stand together and stand behind our people and ou(r) nation! Take a stand and sign the petition! Thank you!”

Jeanette Epps did not respond to the accusations made by her brother, Syracuse.com reported. She also said that neither she nor her family members were responsible for the petition, which reached 1,840 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

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