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    Ed Dwight, Trailblazing Black Astronaut Candidate, Soars to Space at 90

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    After six decades, Ed Dwight, America’s inaugural Black astronaut nominee, soared into space aboard Jeff Bezos’ rocket enterprise last Sunday.

    Originally an Air Force aviator, Dwight caught President John F. Kennedy’s attention as a prospective member of NASA’s fledgling astronaut squad.

    However, despite Kennedy’s endorsement, Dwight faced disappointment when he wasn’t selected for the 1963 astronaut class.

    At 90 years old, Dwight, alongside five other passengers, experienced a few minutes of weightlessness aboard the Blue Origin capsule during a roughly 10-minute flight that skimmed the edge of space.

    Describing it as “a life-changing experience,” Dwight expressed his newfound appreciation, admitting, “I thought I really didn’t need this in my life. But, now, I need it in my life …. I am ecstatic.”

    Setting a new record as the oldest person in space, Dwight’s journey from West Texas surpassed the age milestone of “Star Trek” actor William Shatner’s 2021 flight by nearly two months.

    This marked Blue Origin’s first crew launch in almost two years, following a 2022 accident that grounded the company temporarily.

    However, with flights resuming last December, this venture was the seventh time Blue Origin carried space tourists.

    Joining Dwight were four business entrepreneurs from the U.S. and France and a retired accountant, though ticket prices remained undisclosed, with Dwight’s seat partially sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.

    Dwight’s journey into space adds another chapter to his remarkable life story.

    Initially recommended to NASA by the Air Force as a potential astronaut, he was overlooked for the 1963 class, which included future Gemini and Apollo astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

    It wasn’t until 1978 that NASA selected its first Black astronauts, with Guion Bluford becoming the first African American in space in 1983.

    The Soviet Union had already launched the first Black astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban of African descent, three years prior.

    Following his military service, Dwight pursued various endeavors, including roles at IBM and entrepreneurship, before ultimately earning a master’s degree in sculpture.

    Dedicated to his art, Dwight’s sculptures prominently feature Black history and are displayed as memorials and monuments across the country. Notably, several of his sculptures have even journeyed into space, further solidifying his legacy as both an artist and a pioneer.

    Relevant articles:
    Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, abc7ny.com
    Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, AP News
    Ed Dwight, 90, America’s first black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, New York Post
    Ed Dwight, America’ first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later, The Colorado Sun

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