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Ed Dwight, 90, America’s first black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later

VAN HORN, Texas — Ed Dwight, (*60*)’s first black astronaut candidate, finally rocketed into space 60 years later, flying with Jeff Bezos’ rocket firm on Sunday.

Dwight was an Air Force pilot when President John F. Kennedy championed him as a candidate for NASA’s early astronaut corps. But he wasn’t picked for the 1963 class.

Dwight, now 90, went by means of a couple of minutes of weightlessness with 5 different passengers aboard the Blue Origin capsule because it skimmed space on a roughly 10-minute flight. He referred to as it “a life changing experience.”

Ed Dwight, the first black American astronaut candidate, finally made it to space at 90 years old on a Blue Origin capsule.
Ed Dwight, the first black American astronaut candidate, finally made it to space at 90 years outdated on a Blue Origin capsule. BLUE ORIGIN/AFP through Getty Images
Dwight celebrating after landing at the Blue Origin base near Van Horn, Texas after the space trip on May 19, 2024.
Dwight celebrating after touchdown on the Blue Origin base close to Van Horn, Texas after the space journey on May 19, 2024. BLUE ORIGIN/AFP through Getty Images

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

The temporary flight from West Texas made Dwight the brand new record-holder for oldest particular person in space — almost two months older than “Star Trek” actor William Shatner was when he went up in 2021.

It was Blue Origin’s first crew launch in almost two years.

Dwight was considered as a potential astronaut for NASA's 1963 class, but was ultimately not selected.
Dwight was thought-about as a possible astronaut for NASA’s 1963 class, however was in the end not chosen. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Dwight and the other members of the crew including (left to right) Sylvain Chiron, Ken Hess, Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel and Carol Schaller.
Dwight and the opposite members of the crew together with (left to proper) Sylvain Chiron, Ken Hess, Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel and Carol Schaller. BLUE ORIGIN/AFP through Getty Images

The firm was grounded following a 2022 accident by which the booster got here crashing down however the capsule filled with experiments safely parachuted to the bottom. Flights resumed final December, however with nobody aboard.

This was Blue Origin’s seventh time flying space vacationers.

Dwight, a sculptor from Denver, was joined by 4 enterprise entrepreneurs from the US and France and a retired accountant.

Dwight called the journey a “life changing experience.”
Dwight referred to as the journey a “life changing experience.” BLUE ORIGIN/AFP through Getty Images

Their ticket costs weren’t disclosed; Dwight’s seat was sponsored partly by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.

Dwight was among the many potential astronauts the Air Force really useful to NASA. But he wasn’t chosen for the 1963 class, which included eventual Gemini and Apollo astronauts, together with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

NASA didn’t choose black astronauts till 1978, and Guion Bluford turned the first African American in space in 1983.

Three years earlier, the Soviets launched the first black astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban of African descent.

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