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    Ed Dwight, 90, Breaks Record as Oldest Person in Space Aboard Blue Origin Flight

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    Six decades after he was bypassed in his bid to become the first African American astronaut, Ed Dwight, a pioneer aviator and artist, has soared into the space annals by becoming the oldest person to journey to the final frontier.

    On Sunday, aboard a Blue Origin capsule, Dwight, now 90, experienced the weightlessness of space, floating alongside a diversified crew of passengers on a journey that lasted approximately ten minutes.

    In the early 1960s, Dwight was an Air Force pilot championed by President John F. Kennedy to join NASA’s astronaut corps.

    Despite not being selected for the 1963 class, which paved the way for astronauts like Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to etch their names in space history, Dwight’s aspirations never waned.

    His trip aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft is a testament to an unfulfilled dream that lingered for more than half a century.

    “I thought I really didn’t need this in my life,” Dwight confessed after his spaceflight, “But, now, I need it in my life… I am ecstatic.”

    This sentiment echoed his pre-launch assertion that the trip would fulfill not just his own long-deferred wish but also honor the support and hopes of countless fans who had championed his cause for years.

    This launch was also a return to flight for Blue Origin’s crewed missions after an incident in 2022 when a booster failure led to a grounding of the program.

    Dwight’s seat was generously sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity, with the ticket prices for the accompanying passengers—a cohort comprising business entrepreneurs, a retired accountant, and a commercial airline pilot—remaining undisclosed.

    Dwight was among the Air Force’s recommendations for NASA’s astronaut program, but he missed out on selection for the 1963 cohort, which boasted future Gemini and Apollo astronauts, such as Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins of Apollo 11 fame.

    It wasn’t until 1978 that NASA selected its first Black astronauts, with Guion Bluford achieving the milestone of becoming the first African American in space in 1983. However, three years prior, the Soviets had already launched the first Black astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban of African descent.

    Upon departing from the military in 1966, Dwight embarked on a career with IBM and ventured into entrepreneurship by establishing a construction company. In the late 1970s, he pursued his passion for art, earning a master’s degree in sculpture.

    Since then, he has devoted himself entirely to his artistic endeavors. His sculptures serve as poignant reflections on Black history, gracing memorials and monuments nationwide.

    Notably, several of his sculptures have even journeyed beyond Earth’s atmosphere, symbolizing his enduring dedication to both art and exploration.

    As the oldest person to have traveled to space, Dwight supplants “Star Trek” icon William Shatner, who made his own journey at the age of 90 in 2021.

    Relevant articles:
    Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, 6abc.com
    Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, becomes oldest person to reach space, NBC News
    First Black astronaut candidate, now 90, finally reaches space in Blue Origin flight, cbsnews.com
    Ed Dwight, 90, America’s first black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, New York Post

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