Alumna Jeanette Epps Traveling to the International Space Station

Jeanette Epps ’92 is about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime. A NASA astronaut, Epps was selected to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) late February 2024 as a member of SpaceX Crew-8. Epps will serve as a mission specialist aboard the flight and as a flight engineer performing maintenance and scientific research on the ISS. 

Born in Syracuse, Jeanette Epps graduated from Corcoran High School. Inspired by pioneering female astronauts like Mae Jemison and Sally Ride, Epps studied physics at Le Moyne College and went on to earn a master’s in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. After earning her degrees, Epps worked for the Ford Motor Company as well as the CIA. 

In 2009, Epps’s childhood dream became a reality when she was selected to join NASA Astronaut Group 20. Over the last decade, Epps has spent countless hours in Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific briefings as well as training in flight, robotics, spacewalking, wilderness survival, extreme environment missions, and the Russian language (so she could communicate with cosmonauts.)

About the International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is a modern marvel. Only 250 miles above our heads, it streaks spectacularly across the sky at 17,500 miles per hour, orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes. The station carries an impressive array of research facilities supporting hundreds of experiments at any given time. It can host up to eight visiting vehicles and accommodate 11 crew—all while providing an amazing view featuring 16 sunrises and sunsets per day. 

The effects of microgravity (a very weak gravitational pull) onboard the ISS National Lab causes changes in biological systems and alters fundamental physical phenomena. This allows for novel experiments that benefit research in drug discovery, nanotechnology, materials science, tissue engineering, agriculture, technology development, and more.



“What I appreciate most about Le Moyne is the complete education I got there. I majored in physics, but I still had to take a lot of classes in religion, poetry and art. It gave me a broader perspective of the world.”

Epps’s Career Highlights

  • 1988 - Graduated from Corcoran High School
  • 1992 - Graduated from Le Moyne College
  • 2000 - Earned her doctorate at the University of Maryland
  • 2000 - Worked in the Scientific Research Lab at Ford Motor Company, contributing to studies on collision location detection and countermeasure systems
  • 2002 - Joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a Technical Intelligence Officer
  • 2009 - One of 14 people selected from more than 3,500 applicants for NASA’s 20th astronaut training class
  • 2024 - Travels to the International Space Station as a member of the SpaceX Crew-8 mission

Photo Credit: NASA

Meet Grant Farrokh ’15, the Dolphin Who Will be in the Control Room

Grant Farrokh ’15 is a certified Trajectory Operations and Planning Officer (TOPO) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to support ISS flight operations in the Flight Operations Directorate. TOPOs serve the trajectory experts in the NASA Mission Control Center, and are responsible for planning and monitoring where the ISS and its visiting vehicles are and where they are going to be, and for ensuring that nothing collides with them along the way.

Learn More Grant