History-Making Space Flight

May 20, 2024
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I thought I really didn’t need this in my life but now I need it in my life. I am ecstatic.

Former Air Force pilot and artist Ed Dwight after exiting the Blue Origin space capsule on Sunday, May 19, 2024 – making history as the oldest person to make it to space.

Why It Matters: Ed Dwight made history as the first African-American astronaut candidate in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy chose him, a top Air Force test pilot, for the program; he ended up not being selected for the astronaut class and went on to pursue other careers.

More than sixty years later, Dwight, 90, made it to space and now holds the record for the oldest person in space.

After Dwight left the military, he started a construction company and went on to earn a master’s degree in sculpting in the 1970s. Since then, he has dedicated his life to art, with some of his sculptures even making it into space.

More Context: Dwight made the trip on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin capsule – which has carried other “tourists” into space. The vessel included four other entrepreneurs from the U.S. and a retired accountant from France on board. Unlike the others, however, the nonprofit Space for Humanity sponsored part of Dwight’s trip. The flight matters as the first successful flight since the company grounded its “New Shephard” capsule in 2022 due to concerns about an “anomaly” during a test flight.

Read More: Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally goes to space 60 years later (The Associated Press)

Photograph: United States Air Force

by Evelyn Peterson,

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