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Science: After decades of waiting, 90-year-old candidate to finally travel space

Dwight was one of the potential astronauts the Air Force recommended to NASA. However, he was not chosen for the 1963 class, which featured future Gemini and Apollo astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, flew into space 60 years later with Jeff Bezos’ rocket business on Sunday.

When Dwight was an Air Force pilot, President John F. Kennedy nominated him for NASA’s early astronaut corps.Although, he was not chosen later on in the 1963 class.

Dwight, now 90, experienced a few minutes of weightlessness alongside five other passengers aboard the Blue Origin capsule as it flew into space for approximately ten minutes. He described it as “a life-changing experience.”

“I thought I really didn’t need this in my life,” Dwight commented immediately after exiting the capsule. “But, now, I need it in my life …. I am ecstatic.”

Dwight’s brief voyage from West Texas set a new record for the oldest person in space, nearly two months older than “Star Trek” actor William Shatner was when he flew up in 2021.

This was Blue Origin’s first crew launch in nearly two years. The business was grounded following a 2022 accident in which the booster crashed, but the capsule containing the experiments successfully parachuted to the earth.

Initially a sculptor from Denver, Dwight was joined by four U.S. and France business entrepreneurs, as well as a retired accountant.

After his experience, Dwight was one of the potential astronauts the Air Force recommended to NASA. However, he was not chosen for the 1963 class, which featured future Gemini and Apollo astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. NASA did not choose Black astronauts until 1978, with Guion Bluford becoming the first African American in space in 1983. Three years before in 1980, the Soviets launched the first Black astronaut, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban of African origin.

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After leaving the service in 1966, Dwight worked for IBM and founded a construction company before receiving a master’s degree in sculpting in the late 1970s. He has subsequently devoted himself to art. His sculptures honour Black history and include memorials and monuments throughout the country. Several of his artworks have gone into space.

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 Science: After decades of waiting, 90-year-old candidate to finally travel space

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