Astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann is gearing up for one of her dreams to come true. She's headed to space and will become the first Native American woman to do so when she heads to the International Space Station later this fall. Here's what you need to know.
In 2013, Mann, an enrolled member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, joined NASA, and she's currently training for NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission, set to head to the International Space Agency. This will be the fifth rotational mission to the Space Station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Mann's first time in space flight.
"I feel, I think in one word, just absolutely excited," Mann told ABC News. "The training that we've been through the launch with this crew, it's going to be an incredible mission." Mann is set to serve as mission commander, and three other experts will join her.
Along with Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and astronaut and pilot Josh Cassada, the SpaceX Crew is set to launch on Oct. 3.
The mission to the space station is to conduct scientific experiments that will hopefully learn more about Earth and to help move the human exploration of outer space forward. To prepare for the space flight, the astronauts undergo survival training, physiological testing, training on the space station system, and robotics. They're also practicing their understanding of the Russian language.
"We'll get a chance to do a couple of spacewalks, flying the robotic arm, and so there's a lot that goes into that preparation to be ready for your mission," Mann told ABC News.
No timeline has been released yet on how long Mann and the rest of her crewmates will be up on the International Space Station. However, it's probably safe to assume it's around the same time frame as other missions, which is approximately four to five months long.
According to NASA, Crew-4 is still at the station after launching in April. Mann's crew will "overlap briefly" with the members currently aboard the Space Station, who are set to return to Earth in early October.
The launch of NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission will be streamed live in October on Space.com when the time comes.