Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel  
 
search

UMD    This Site






NASA has announced that University of Maryland (UMD) A. James Clark School of Engineering alumna Jeanette Epps (M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ‘00) will be part of Expedition 56 to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018. She will also remain aboard as part of Expedition 57. This posting will make her the first African-American to crew the station and the 13th woman.

NASA selected Epps in 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. Her training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in ISS systems, spacewalk training, robotics, T-38 flight training and wilderness survival training.

As a Flight Engineer aboard the ISS, Epps will be responsible for supporting both research activities during the mission and onboard maintenance for the nearly twenty-year-old station. In addition, crew members serve as experiments themselves, with data regularly collected on them to provide insights into the effects of space on the human body.

The New York native was a NASA Fellow during graduate school at UMD and authored several journal and conference articles describing her research involving extensive testing of composite swept-tip beams, comparative analysis of analytical models and experimental data for shape memory alloys and the application of shape memory alloy actuators for helicopter rotor blade tracking.

Epps then worked for Ford Motor Company where she received both a provisional patent and a U.S. patent for her research. After leaving Ford, she joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for seven years working as a Technical Intelligence Officer before becoming an astronaut.

She has regularly supported Maryland through visits to campus, speaking with undergraduate aerospace engineering classes to discuss her experiences as an astronaut and talking to students about what it takes to succeed as an engineer.

When students ask 'How do I become an astronaut?' Epps has said, "There is no recipe to becoming an astronaut. If they examine the backgrounds of those selected in my class, our backgrounds range from military, engineering, biology and medical. They must make their careers and lives the best possible so that the only job that can take them away is a career to become an astronaut."

Epps speaking with UMD students during a fall 2015 campus visit.

One of the most unexpected side effects of her position as an astronaut has been the level of responsibility she feels towards the public. According to Epps, astronauts are role models, and they have a responsibility to give back to the larger world community.

"In my career, many have helped me along the way, especially Dr. [Inderjit] Chopra, so I feel a sense of responsibility to give back," explained Epps after a trip to UMD to present to an aerospace engineering class. "Also, Maryland is a great school that I believe can rival any school in academics, especially engineering. I want the students to understand that and to pass it along long after leaving Maryland. I love visiting UMD because it reminds me of a happy, but tough, time in my life."

 



Related Articles:
Hasan Receives NASA Space Flight Awareness Silver Snoopy Award
Intern Designs Payload Integration System for NASA
Alumnus Profile: Christopher T. Jones
Two UMD Teams NASA BIG Idea Challenge Finalists
Aerospace Engineering Inducts Five New Academy of Distinguished Alumni Members
FOX5 DC Highlights UMD UAS Test Site's Role in NASA UTM Test
Alumnus Named 2016 Black Engineer of the Year
UMD Students Win Poster Session at NASA's Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop
UMD Team Wins 2015 Robo-Ops and Sets New Course Record
Bowcutt Elected National Academy of Engineering Fellow

January 17, 2017


«Previous Story  

 

 

Current Headlines

University of Maryland School of Engineering Announces Unprecedented Investment from A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation

UAS Test Site Expert Available to Comment on UAS Integration Pilot Program

UMD Researchers Receive Funding to Further Study ‘Fire Whirls’

UMD Opens Outdoor Flight Laboratory to Advance Autonomy, Robotics

UMD Teams Place 1st at AHS International's 34th Annual Student Design Competition

Relive Totality With Clark School Images, Videos

Hubbard Co-Authors New Book on Flexible Multi-Body Dynamics for Flapping Wing Vehicles

Davidson and Plotkin Selected as 2017-2018 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars

UAS Test Site Hosts International Justice System Workshop Participants

Intern Designs Payload Integration System for NASA

 
 
Back to top  
Wind Tunnel Home Clark School Home UMD Home Aerospace home