Shout out to Dr. Guion Bluford Jr.—retired Air Force Colonel and astronaut.
After earning your PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978, you set sail to become a NASA astronaut. You accomplished this feat in August 1979. Four years later, on August 30, 1983—while boarding the Challenger as a mission specialist on STS-8—you became the first African American to travel to space.
You opened doors for future Black astronauts to run through, such as Frederick Gregory and Ronald McNair—the latter who was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger that disintegrated on January 28, 1986, after 73 seconds. Between 1983 and 1992, you completed numerous shuttle flights; and in turn, you inspired a new generation of Black astronauts and rocket scientists.
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