United States

Ed Dwight, America's First Black Astronaut Candidate, Set To Soar Into Space At Age 90

Ed Dwight will join the six-person crew aboard the upcoming New Shepard flight, marking the seventh human flight for the New Shepard program.

Getty images
Ed Dwight Photo: Getty images
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Ed Dwight, the trailblazing veteran who was America's first black astronaut candidate, is slated to make history by finally journeying into space at the age of 90. Blue Origin, the space venture company founded by Jeff Bezos, announced on Thursday that Dwight will be part of the six-person crew aboard the upcoming New Shepard flight, venturing beyond Earth's atmosphere.

Dwight, who was originally selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the nation's inaugural black astronaut candidate, never had the opportunity to fulfill his dream of space travel. Despite his extensive qualifications and commendations, including being invited to join Chuck Yeager's test pilot program, Dwight was not chosen to join the Astronaut Corps. He has since dedicated his life to sculpture, using his art to depict the stories of black history.

Ed Dwight, the United States first Black astronaut, in the cockpit of an F-104.
Ed Dwight, the United States' first Black astronaut, in the cockpit of an F-104. Photo: Getty images
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Accompanying Dwight on this historic journey are five other crew members, including venture capitalist Mason Angel and French brewer Sylvain Chiron. Each member will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future.

While Blue Origin has not disclosed the cost of the experience for the other crew members, Dwight's flight is sponsored by Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation, allowing him to embark on this momentous journey for free.

This announcement marks the seventh human flight for the New Shepard program, demonstrating Blue Origin's commitment to advancing space exploration despite setbacks such as the thermo-structural failure experienced in a previous uncrewed flight. The date for the upcoming flight has yet to be revealed.

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