September 19, 2021
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Penngrove native set for amazing voyage

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 10, 2018

Being a native Penngrovean, Nicole Aunapu Mann will take a trip to space on the first crewed American mission since NASA retired the space shuttle back in 2011. A Rancho Cotate High School graduate, Mann became an astronaut in 2013 and is one of the nine Americans selected to test NASA’s newly teamed space capsule.

She will be on the Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner when it takes its first test flight while going into orbit next year. The Boeing Starliner is scheduled for its test launch at Cape Canaveral by the middle of 2019. Mann is also a graduate of Stanford University and the U.S. Naval Academy when she joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a test pilot and also an operations officer. Nicole flew on 47 combat missions while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mann joined an elite pool of 57 women who were selected for NASA’s astronaut candidate program. The two-year course is at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and includes very intensive training. Mann will become the first female to be part of the inaugural flight of a U.S. spacecraft, according to NASA.