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Meet an astronaut

Dr Epps video recording for the Claire Corani Memorial Lecture:


Dr Jeanette Epps
Obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 from LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She completed a master’s degree in science in 1994 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 2000, both from the University of Maryland, College Park.
While earning her doctorate, Epps was a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. After completing graduate school, she worked in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited her. She spent seven years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before her selection as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.

NASA Experience:
Dr. Epps was selected in July 2009 as one of 9 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. Her Astronaut Candidate Training included Russian Language training, spacewalk training (EVA), robotics, T‐38 jet training, geology and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) training. After graduating Dr. Epps continued training by participating in NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation), geologic studies in Hawaii, and language immersion in Moscow as well as continued training in EVA, robotics and T‐38.

NASA has assigned astronaut Jeanette Epps to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.

Epps will join NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for a six-month expedition planned for a launch in 2021 to the orbiting space laboratory. The flight will follow NASA certification after a successful uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 and Crew Flight Test with astronauts.


  • How did you go from being a CIA agent to an Astronaut?
  • Do you think Space Tourism will be possible?
  • Do you think the Artemis program will fulfil its goal of sending humans back to the Moon by 2024?
  • I would like to know about the rigour and nature of the preparations for the travel to the moon in 2024 and the aims and expected duration of the mission; what is her current involvement in this?
  • Do you think feasible beyond the moon travel, will the SpaceX Mars program fulfill its goal of a manned flight to Mars in 2024?
  • Did she have an inspiration or a role model that she looked up to become an astronaut?
  • How on earth do you go from CIA to Astronaut?
  • What has been your biggest challenge in as an astronaut?
  • Are there any specific challenges for females in the industry that you work in?
  • Hypothetical: if you had contact with an off world species, is there a protocol for that and what is it… or is that not something that is considered. 
  • What is the likelihood of being hit by a small piece of space debris on a space walk?
  • Besides during your T-38 training, how often do you get to fly in the T-38?
  • What physical/survival training is required to be an astronaut?