Petaluma-born Nicole Mann, first Native American woman in space, takes second spacewalk
Petaluma-born astronaut Nicole Mann added to her legacy Thursday by completing her second spacewalk. The NASA astronaut, who has been aboard the International Space Station since October, stepped out of the station for a spacewalk that lasted 6 hours and 41 minutes.
Mann made history in October as the first Native American woman to launch into space.
Mann and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata worked in the vacuum of space to complete construction of a mounting platform for a planned solar panel array. The solar panels will launch this summer as part of a continuing effort by NASA to expand the space station's power grid.
The walk marked Mann’s and Wakata’s second venture outside the space station, as both astronauts started the construction task during a spacewalk on Jan. 20.
NASA broadcast the entire Feb. 2 spacewalk live on YouTube. In the video, Mann can be seen wearing a spacesuit marked with red stripes. Wakata wore an unmarked spacesuit.
The 45-year-old Mann, a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Northern California and a decorated pilot, launched to the International Space Station Oct. 5 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. She and the crew are scheduled to stay aboard the station for five months.
In an interview with the Marine Corps Times before the Oct. 5 launch, Mann said her military training gave her the physical and mental discipline “that’s really prepared me for all this training that I have at NASA and preparing for a flight into space.”
Mann was born in Petaluma, later moved to Penngrove, and attended Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park. When she’s not orbiting the Earth, Mann now resides in Houston with her husband and son.
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