U.S. Astronaut Ends Record 355-Day Spaceflight
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei touched down back on Earth aboard a Russian capsule following 355 days at the International Space Station.LEARN MORE
Watkins will be the first Black female astronaut to spend six months in space.
NASA is getting ready for the SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station, and that includes the first Black female astronaut to have a six-month stay.
NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins called it a milestone for NASA and the country.
"I think it really is just a tribute to the legacy of the Black women astronauts that have come before me, as well as to the exciting future ahead. And so I'm just honored to be a small part of that legacy moving forward. You know, for me, growing up, it was important to me to have role models in roles that I aspired to be in, contributing in ways I aspired to contribute. So to the extent that I'm able to do that, I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to return the favor."
She also encouraged children of color to pursue their dreams.
"Yes, I certainly would encourage any young girls, young children of color, young children in general to try to find something that you love and just pursue that relentlessly."
The mission will be NASA's latest crew rotation flight involving a U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying astronauts.
The Crew-4 mission is carrying NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
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