- Esme Stallard
- BBC News environmental science correspondent
Items that astronauts carry on space travel must adhere to strict weight rules—the space capsules leave for astronauts to store personal items are very limited.
But it didn’t take long for Nicole Aunapu Mann to think about her 1.3kg personal items: the items she really wanted to bring to accompany her on a space trip were her as a Native American symbol.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station on Oct. 5 made the 45-year-old former U.S. Navy test pilot the first Native American woman to go into space.
Mann is a Wailacki Native American, and in honor of her people, she carries a dream catcher. It’s a souvenir from her hometown and a Native American talisman given to her by her mother Victoria as a child.
According to the Aboriginal Foundation, the dream catcher is a symbol of solidarity and also provides protection.
Inspiring young women
Mann also serves as the operations commander for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which includes U.S. astronaut Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian astronaut Anna Wakata. Anna Kikina. They are expected to spend six months on the International Space Station.
Mann could also achieve a major first: She is one of the astronauts in the Artemis program. The United States‘ Artemis program intends to send the first woman and first astronaut of color to the moon by 2026.
She said the prospect was very exciting: “I really hope that this mission will inspire young Native American children to pursue their dreams and realize that those barriers that are or have been there are being broken down.”
The first Native American to go into space was John Bennett Herrington of the Chickasaw Nation, who entered space 20 years ago on the space shuttle Endeavour.
War and Medal
Mann is from California and studied mechanical engineering at Stanford University.
After graduation she became a colonel in the Marine Corps, flying various fighter jets. She was deployed twice on U.S. aircraft carriers to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded six medals for her service in the U.S. military.
The trip was Mann’s first spaceflight since he became an astronaut in 2013.
She is one of eight members of NASA’s 21st astronaut class. The squad was formed to prepare for the operation of the space station and possible future missions to the moon and Mars.
This is the fifth rotating mission to the International Space Station, where the team will conduct 250 science experiments that NASA says will help benefit life on Earth and help humans explore space beyond Earth. Prepare.
During the 2002 flight, John Herrington carried the Chickasaw flag and a traditional flute during a 13-day space voyage.