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Meet Ed Dwight, The First Black Man Trained As Astronaut To Go To Space After 63 Years


On Sunday, Dwight will join five others on a space flight by Blue Origin.

Ed Dwight, who is the first Black man to be trained as an astronaut, is set to become the oldest person to go to space at 90 years of age. Dwight in 1961 hoped to become the first Black astronaut in space, but he never made it.

A Blue Origin flight is finally giving the 90-year-old the chance that he was denied decades ago.

On Sunday, Dwight will join five others on a space flight by Blue Origin, the space travel company owned by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. The 11-minute flight will take the six members to the edge of space, helping them experience weightlessness due to zero gravity and view the Earth’s horizon.

In 1961, Dwight was selected by then US President John F. Kennedy to enter an Air Force training program, known as the Path to NASA’s Astronaut Corps. Dwight was an elite test pilot at that time, but was ultimately not picked.

In 2022, Dwight revealed that when he got the offer letter in 1961 to be the first Black astronaut, he thought “these dudes were crazy.”

After the completion of the program in 1963, the Air Force recommended him to join the corps. However, he wasn’t selected. In 1966, he resigned from the military citing strain of racial politics.

“So, all these White folks that I’m dealing with, I mean, my peers, the other guys that were astronaut candidates and the leadership was just horrified at the idea of my coming down to Edwards and the president appointing me to the position,” CBS quoted him as saying.

He dedicated the rest of his life to telling Black history through sculpture. Dwight’s art, displayed around the country, includes iconic figures like Martin Luther King Jr, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and more.

Dwight’s seat on the Blue Origin flight is believed to cost $250,000 even though the ticket prices are a well-guarded secret. His ticket has been sponsored by the nonprofit organisation, Space for Humanity, known for providing help to send citizens to space.

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