America's first black astronaut candidate is finally going into space 60 years after Bezos' rocket – Science News (Trending Perfect)

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Van Horn, Texas (AFP) – America's first black astronaut finally launched into space after 60 years, and flew aboard Rocket Company Jeff Bezos Sunday.

Ed Dwight He was an Air Force pilot when President John F. Kennedy endorsed him as a nominee for NASA's first astronaut corps. But he was not selected for the class of 1963.

Dwight, 90, experienced a few minutes of weightlessness with five other passengers on board the Blue Origin capsule as it soared through space for a flight that lasted about 10 minutes. He described it as a “life-changing experience.”

“I thought I didn't need this in my life,” Dwight said shortly after emerging from the pod. “But now I need it in May…I'm ecstatic.”

The short flight from West Texas made Dwight the new record holder for the oldest person in space – about two months older than him “Star Trek” actor William Shatner That's when he stepped up in 2021.

This was Blue Origin's first crewed launch in nearly two years. The company was shut down after a 2022 accident The booster collapsed, but the capsule full of experiments parachuted safely to the ground. Flights resumed last December, but there was no one on board. This was Blue Origin's seventh time flying tourists into space.

Dwight, a sculptor from Denver, was joined by four businessmen from the United States and France and a retired accountant. Their ticket prices have not been revealed. Dwight's bench was sponsored in part by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.

Dwight was among the potential astronauts recommended by the Air Force and NASA. But he was not selected for the 1963 session, which eventually included Gemini and Apollo astronauts, including Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. NASA did not select black astronauts until 1978, and Guy Bluford became the first African-American in space in 1983. Three years earlier, the Soviets launched their first black astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, an Afro-Cuban.

After leaving the army in 1966, Dwight joined IBM and set up a construction company, before earning a master's degree in sculpture in the late 1970s. Since then he has devoted himself to art. His sculptures focus on black history and include memorials and monuments across the country. Many of his sculptures have flown into space.

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