On October 3rd, 2022, SpaceX and NASA sent a crew of astronauts from around the world to the International Space Station. Nicole Aunapu Mann is one of the astronauts on the mission, Crew-5, and she’s making history as the first Native American Woman to go into space. Nicole Mann is also serving as the mission commander on the SpaceX Dragon, and she’ll be expedition 68’s flight engineer on the International Space Station and may even be going to the moon.
Nicole Mann is a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in California and became an astronaut back in 2013. She was recruited into NASA in 2013 and finished candidate training just two years later. Nicole holds a Bachelor’s and Master of Science in mechanical engineering and was also a former colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and a former fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan making her an experienced candidate
Nicole is not only a symbol of what hard work and dedication can get you but a symbol of motivation. Nicole states that the importance of her being the first Native American Woman to go to space is to “Show the younger generations that the barriers are being or can be broken”. Nicole also states that it’s great to see that places like NASA are saying that “it really doesn’t matter” in the context that NASA looks for people who can do the job well and know what they’re doing regardless of their race. NASA does not discriminate or give someone else a better chance because of their race or any prejudices.
We can all be like Nicole Mann and fight to break the barriers that we face every day as individuals and as a collective. As Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
This article originally appeared in The Amityville Echo.