By Darren Lyn
HOUSTON, United States (AA) - NASA and SpaceX on Wednesday launched a new crew including the first Native American woman into space on the SpaceX Dragon rocket at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Commander Nicole Mann, who is also a Marine Corps pilot and member of the Wailacki tribe of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, said she hopes her historic launch will encourage the next generation.
"These young women, maybe Natives, maybe people from different backgrounds that realize that they have these opportunities and potentiality these barriers that used to be there are starting to be broken down," said Mann in an interview with National Public Radio. "And so hopefully that will inspire that younger generation."
"Never discount yourself," Mann continued. "If you don't go after a dream or a goal and if you don't try, you're never going to make it. It's exciting to take this opportunity to just chase down all of those dreams and never discount yourself."
Also on board the SpaceX sixth crewed mission is Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.
This is the first time under an agreement between NASA and Russia's space agency that SpaceX has hosted a Russian crew member.
The other astronauts on board the Dragon are NASA's Josh Cassada and Japan's Koichi Wakata.
The SpaceX crew will stay aboard the International Space Station for about six months.