Science, Inventions, Medicine, and Aerospace


Who was America’s first black astronaut to make a space flight?

On August 30, 1983, Guion (Guy) Stewart Bluford Jr. (1942–) was the first black American astronaut to make a space flight. He made his maiden voyage into space on the STS-8, the shuttle’s eighth mission. He worked the remote manipulator system, Spacelab-3 experiments, shuttle systems, Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, and the Flight Systems Laboratory. He went on to make two more flights and spent 314 hours in space before retiring from the program in 1993. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bluford received his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978. He had earned his wings in 1965. He was the second black in space; a black Cuban named Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez had previously flown on a Soviet mission.

The first black American astronaut to actually fly into space was Guy Bluford Jr. (above). The honor of first black man in the world to go into outer space, however, belongs to Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, a Cuban cosmonaut who flew on a Soviet mission.


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