Monday, June 24, 2024

America’s first Black astronaut candidate makes historic space journey 60 years after initial selection | WGN Radio 720

Spaceflight of America’s First Black Astronaut Candidate, Ed Dwight

The long overdue dream of America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally came true as Ed Dwight, now 90 years old, flew into space with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin. Despite being passed over for NASA’s astronaut corps in 1963, Dwight had the opportunity to experience weightlessness on a 10-minute flight aboard the Blue Origin capsule.

Dwight, a former Air Force pilot and now a sculptor from Denver, joined five other passengers on the historic flight from West Texas. This flight made Dwight the oldest person to ever go to space, breaking the record previously held by “Star Trek” actor William Shatner. Dwight expressed his joy and called the experience “life-changing.”

Blue Origin’s launch marked its first crewed mission in nearly two years, following a prior accident in 2022. The passengers on this flight included business entrepreneurs from the U.S. and France, as well as a retired accountant. The ticket prices for the flight were not disclosed, with Dwight’s seat partially sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.

Despite not being selected as an astronaut in the 1960s, Dwight went on to have a successful career outside of the military, working at IBM and starting his own construction company. He later pursued a master’s degree in sculpture and has since dedicated his art to honoring Black history, creating sculptures, memorials, and monuments across the country. Several of his sculptures have even flown into space, making his journey to the stars even more poignant.

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