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Black Pioneers

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

America’s first Black astronaut candidate has finally fulfilled his lifelong dream to travel to space.

According to AP, Ed Dwight rocketed into space with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company for the first time on Sunday, since becoming a candidate for NASA’s early astronaut corp in the early 1960s. 

Dwight served as an Air Force pilot until President John F. Kennedy co-signed him to be the first Black astronaut to travel to space, but unfortunately, he wasn’t picked. 

The 90-year-old astronaut and five other passengers traveled through space for about 10 minutes in the Blue Origin capsule, the spaceship’s seventh time flying flying tourists. 

After the trip, Dwight called it, “Fantastic! A life-changing experience. Everyone needs to do this!”

“I thought I really didn’t need this in my life,” Dwight said shortly after exiting the capsule. ”But, now, I need it in my life …. I am ecstatic.”

He also became the oldest person to ever travel to space, beating Star Trek’s William Shatner, who went up to space in 2021, but two months. 

Ed Dwight’s inspirational story is a testament to his unmatched resilience and tenacity towards his goals. 

Dwight was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1933. Since the day he was born, Dwight always wanted to fly. At the age of 4, he built his first toy airplane out of orange crates from his backyard. In 1953, Dwight enlisted in the United States Air Force where he would eventually earn the rank of captain.

From NPR:

In the 1960s, Dwight, an Air Force captain, was fast-tracked for space flight after then-President John F. Kennedy asked for a Black astronaut. Despite graduating in the top half of a test pilot school, Dwight was subsequently passed over for selection as an astronaut, a story he detailed in his autobiography, Soaring On The Wings Of A Dream: The Untold Story of America’s First Black Astronaut Candidate.

Astronaut Ed Dwight

Source: Bettmann / Getty

From the Air Force to NASA, Dwight stood next to American heroes like Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, but since Black astronauts weren’t allowed in the program until 1978, Dwight patiently waited his turn. 

In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first Black American to travel to space and three years later, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, traveled to space with the Soviets. 

Dwight told NPR  that he hopes this isn’t the last trip to space for him.

“I want to go into orbit,” said Dwight. “I want to go around the Earth and see the whole Earth. That’s what I want to do now.”

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The post 90-Year-Old Black Astronaut ‘Ecstatic’ About First Space Trip After Being Passed Over Decades Ago appeared first on NewsOne.

90-Year-Old Black Astronaut ‘Ecstatic’ About First Space Trip After Being Passed Over Decades Ago  was originally published on newsone.com