The director of the American space agency, Jim Brydenstein, spoke to the public at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where a number of the most important issues were discussed, but there were also unusual ones. In particular, the head of NASA was asked why the black astronauts had not been sent into space for a long time.
The last time an African-American was put into orbit in 2011, when the shuttle development was stopped, so the United States was left without ships with which it is possible to deliver its astronauts to the International Space Station. The American authorities turned to the Russian side for help, which they eventually received. And now, for seven years, astronauts from the United States have been delivered aboard the ISS on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The session moderator drew attention to this point, suggesting that it was the Russian Federation that was opposed to African-Americans flying into space on their ships. The question was somewhat embarrassing for Brydenstein, because he obviously did not expect such a thing to be heard that day, nevertheless he found the strength to answer.
“I haven’t heard anything about it, even if it’s really so. I’m interested in this because I’ve got such a question,” the head of NASA said.
By the way, the first African American in history has almost become a crew member of the 56/57 expedition to the International Space Station. This is a 47-year-old native of New York, Janett Epps, who is now an employee of the Johnson Space Center in Houston. In the spring of 2018, she was supposed to get a place in the main crew of the Soyuz MS-09 ship, but at the last moment she was replaced by another NASA employee – Serina Maria Aunyon.