America's First Black Astronaut Candidate Set to Finally Soar into Space with Blue Origin

America’s First Black Astronaut Candidate Ed Dwight Set to Finally Soar into Space with Blue Origin At Age 90

A Historic Moment Decades in the Making

An upcoming New Shepard-25 mission by Blue Origin marks a significant moment for former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, a Kansas City native who was initially selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the first Black astronaut candidate in the United States.

Despite his historic selection, Dwight was not ultimately chosen for the NASA Astronaut Corps, missing out on the opportunity to fly to space.

Now, six decades later, Ed Dwight is set to embark on the New Shepard mission, sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation.

This mission, the seventh human flight and 25th program by Blue Origin, represents a full-circle moment for Dwight, who went on to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and sculptor, creating monuments commemorating Black historical leaders.

From Trailblazer to Space Traveler

In 1961, Ed Dwight made history when he was selected as the first Black astronaut candidate in the United States. However, despite completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and earning a recommendation from the U.S. Air Force, Dwight was never chosen to fly to space.

This missed opportunity was a disappointment, but it did not deter Dwight from pursuing his passion for space exploration and honoring Black history.

Over the years, Dwight has dedicated his talents to creating over 130 monuments and sculptures that commemorate the contributions of influential Black figures, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass.

His work has been showcased in museums across the United States and Canada, solidifying his legacy as an artist and trailblazer.

Blue Origin’s Commitment to Accessibility and STEAM Education

Joining Dwight on the New Shepard-25 mission will be a diverse crew of astronauts, including Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and Gopi Thotakura.

This mission underscores Blue Origin’s commitment to making space accessible to all humans and promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education.

As part of the mission, each astronaut will carry postcards created by students as part of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation aimed at inspiring the next generation to explore STEAM careers.

“Club for the Future is proud to make space accessible to all humans through the Postcards to Space program,” the initiative’s website states. “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.”

A Long-Awaited Dream Realized

After decades of being denied the opportunity to fly to space, Ed Dwight’s inclusion in the crew for the New Shepard-25 mission represents a remarkable full-circle moment in his storied career.

At the age of 90, Dwight will finally have the chance to soar into the heavens, marking a historic achievement and inspiring generations to come.