Nicole Mann becomes the first Indigenous women to go to space


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Mann becomes the first Indigenous women to go to space.

Throughout American History, the Indigenous population of America was never given much respect or credit. Constantly persecuted, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans still live in poverty (the national rate for Indigenous Americans living below the poverty line is 25.4%). Reservations lack access to clean water, healthcare, and quality education.

Nicole Aunapu Mann, an astronaut for NASA for over ten years, served as its commander on the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station: She led her team this year with Anna Kikina, Josh Cassada, and Koichi Wakata. Mann became the first Indigenous woman to travel into space. It took nearly 2 decades for a native American woman to do so, while  John Harrington was the first Indigenous man to achieve that feat in 2002. 

“It’s important that we celebrate our diversity and really communicate that specifically to the younger generation,” said Mann to CNN. 

Mann is registered with – The Wailacki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of California. 

She has a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University. She went on to become a Marine Corps Colonel, flying combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq before she joined NASA. Her journey is an impressive one and an inspiration to millions of aspirants in American Society. 

After years of training, Mann was chosen to launch the International Space Station as commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on October 5th, 2022. 

Aboard the mission, Mann and her team orbited the Earth in low orbits, gaining the experience to fly in that orbit. This is in preparation for the Artemis mission, to eventually walk on the moon.

But, Mann should not be the last – nor the first Indigenous woman. 

Mann’s accomplishment is impressive – a massive step for American society. 

One step for Mann, a giant leap for Indigenous diversity and equality.