Home News Ed Dwight, first Black astronaut candidate, becomes oldest person in space

Ed Dwight, first Black astronaut candidate, becomes oldest person in space

Ed Dwight, NASA’s first Black astronaut candidate during the Space Race, became the oldest human in space on Sunday.

Dwight, 90, traveled above the internationally recognized boundary, the Karman line, on a suborbital flight operated by Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin.

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

Dwight became the oldest person in space by just under two months, barely topping William Shatner’s age when he boarded a Blue Origin flight in October 2021.

Sunday’s flight took off just after 10:30 a.m. at Blue Origin’s launch site north of Van Horn, Texas, about 110 miles east of El Paso. Along with Dwight, the capsule carried Mason Angel, a venture capitalist; Sylvain Chiron, the founder of a French craft brewery; entrepreneur Kenneth Hess; aviator Gopi Thotakura and Carol Schaller, a retired accountant.

Blue Origin flights had been grounded since a September 2022 incident during a research flight. The company resumed test flights in December 2023, and Sunday’s flight was the company’s first with people on board since before the accident. Dwight’s seat was sponsored by a nonprofit, Space for Humanity.

In 1961, Dwight was chosen for the Air Force’s Aerospace Research Pilot School, the program from which NASA picked astronauts. He completed the program in 1963 and was one of the 26 recommended astronauts, but he was not one of the 14 selected for the Gemini and Apollo programs.

NASA didn’t select any Black astronauts until 1978, and the first Black American in space was Guion Bluford in 1983. However, the first Black man in space was Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban man of African descent who flew on a Soviet mission in 1980.

With News Wire Services


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