(Image credit: NASA)
NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins floats above Earth in a gorgeous new photo from the International Space Station.
Watkins launched to the orbiting lab on April 27 as part of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission, making history as the first Black woman to embark on a long-duration spaceflight. As a mission specialist, she aims to photograph and observe geological features of Earth and perform a variety science experiments with her crewmates.
On Monday (May 9), NASA shared a new photo of Watkins in the space station’s cupola, which offers the perfect viewing spot for astronauts living and working aboard the orbiting lab. Cupolas are a dome-shaped, seven-window cupola that faces Earth. The small module not only allows the crew to observe Earth, but also provides a view of the exterior of the International Space Station, making it easier to monitor robotic activities, approaching vehicles and spacewalks.
In addition to Watkins, SpaceX’s Crew-4 includes NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines and the European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti. It is expected that the crew will spend six months on the station living and working.
After the arrival of Crew-4 and the subsequent departure of Crew-3, another SpaceX mission, the station’s Expedition 67 now includes three Russians, three Americans and one Italian astronaut. Over the next few months, the crew will be closely working together, performing scientific research, station maintenance and training, as well as other tasks.
Crew-4 is Watkins’ first spaceflight. Her experience includes intensive instruction in the space station’s systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, water and wilderness survival training, geology training and expeditionary skills training, NASA wrote in a description of the new photo.
In 2019, she also served as an aquanaut crew member in the Aquarius underwater habitat for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 23 mission.
Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She holds a B.A. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Her work was previously published in Nature World News. Samantha loves to travel and take photos, so she spends her time writing about science. You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.