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Ed Dwight, The First Black Astronaut Candidate In The US, Will Be In The Crew For Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 Space Mission


Blue Origin has birthed a full-circle moment for former Air Force Captain and Kansas City, KS, native Ed Dwight.

Back in 1961, Dwight made history as he was selected by President John F. Kennedy as the first Black astronaut candidate in the U.S., according to a news release. However, after completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and receiving a recommendation from the U.S. Air Force to move forward, he wasn’t selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps and missed out on the chance to fly to space.

Now, six decades later, Dwight is set to be on board for Blue Origin’s latest New Shepard mission to space — marking its seventh human flight and 25th program to date — the news release details. What’s more, his seat is sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation.

Before being selected for Blue Origin’s space mission, Dwight went from an early career as an entrepreneur to sculpting monuments that commemorate Black historical leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, according to the release. Over 130 of his pieces of work are featured in museums in the U.S. and Canada.

For New Shepard-25, alongside Dwight will be Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and Gopi Thotakura. For their journey to space, each person within the six-astronaut crew will have a postcard with them that was created by students as part of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation. Club for the Future was launched to encourage the next generation to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) careers “for the benefit of Earth,” per its website.

“Club for the Future is proud to make space accessible to all humans through the Postcards to Space program,” the website wrote. “Anyone can draw or write their vision of the future on a postcard and Blue Origin will fly it to space and back on a future New Shepard mission. Club for the Future will then stamp them ‘flown to space’ and return them to the creator.”

As of this writing, a date for the New Shepard-25 mission has yet to be announced.

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