Mission Commander Astronaut Nicole “Duke” Aunapu Mann will become the first Native American woman to travel to space when she visits the International Space Station next month.
“Duke” is part of the Wailaki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes and has been with the NASA astronaut program since 2013.
She will lead a team conducting 250 missions while at the International Space Station, and NASA says the trip may even proceed to the moon. Among the belongings “Duke” plans to bring with her will be a Dreamcatcher, which signifies protection.
“It’s very exciting,” “Duke” said in a statement reported by TravelNoire. “I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids… realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”