Janice Voss, former NASA astronaut, has passed away at the age of 55 after battling with breast cancer. She was a veteran of five space shuttle flights between 1993 and 2000, and was a science director of the ExoPlanet Hunting spacecraft program called Kepler from 2004 to 2007.
A statement was released by NASA on Tuesday confirming the death of Janice Voss the previous night.
“As the payload commander of two space shuttle missions, Janice was responsible for paving the way for experiments that we now perform daily on the International Space Station,” chief astronaut Peggy Whitson said in the NASA statement.
The Facebook page for the Association of Space Explorers, had a message posted that read, “Just got the very sad news that US Astronaut Janice Voss passed away last night. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.”
Her five space missions tied her for the most space flights by a woman with five other females, spending a total of 49 days in space. The Kepler space observatory that was launched in early 2009 to find Earth-sized planets orbiting other stars has found 61 of them while identifying over 2,000 more candidates since then.
Voss graduated from MIT in 1977 with her Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.