First Black astronaut candidate, now 90, reaches space in Blue Origin flight

first black astronaut candidate, now 90, reaches space in blue origin flight

Ed Dwight celebrates as he exits the Mission NS-25 crew capsule upon landing near the Blue Origin base near Van Horn, Texas, on 19 May 2024. Photograph: BLUE ORIGIN/AFP/Getty Images

Sixty-one years since he was selected but ultimately passed over to become the first Black astronaut, Ed Dwight finally reached space in a Blue Origin rocket – and set a different record.

At 10.37am on Sunday, Jeff Bezos’s space company launched its NS-25 mission from west Texas, marking Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight since 2022 when its New Shepard rocket was grounded due to a mid-flight failure.

On board were six crew members, including Dwight, a retired US air force captain who at 90 years old now becomes the oldest person to reach the edge of space.

In 1961, Dwight was chosen by President John F Kennedy to train as an astronaut at the Aerospace Research Pilot School, but was ultimately not selected for the Nasa Astronaut Corps.

Since entering private life in 1966, Dwight spent a decade as an entrepreneur, before turning to sculpture to honor Black history, Blue Origin said on its website. Dwight has created large-scale monuments of various major Black figures including Martin Luther King Jr, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, and has more than 130 of his public works installed in museums and public spaces across the US and Canada.

“I had no intention of being an astronaut. That was the last thing on my bucket list,” Dwight told a 2023 National Geographic documentary, The Space Race. “But once I was given the challenge, then everything changes.”

Dwight’s seat was sponsored by Space for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding space access.

Dwight becomes the oldest person to fly to the edge of space, surpassing the record set by actor William Shatner who flew on another Blue Origin flight in October 2021.

The Blue Origin flights pass the 62-mile altitude Karman Line, an internationally accepted boundary of space.

The late John Glenn, a former astronaut and Ohio senator, still holds the record of the oldest person to enter Earth’s orbit. In 1998, Glenn was sent into space at 77-year old via the Discovery space shuttle.

Following the capsule’s touchdown, Dwight exited the capsule, pumped his fist in the air and said: “I thought I really didn’t need this in my life but now I need this in my life. I am ecstatic … It was a life-changing experience. Everybody needs to do this.”

Other crew members include venture capitalist Mason Angel, craft brewery founder Sylvain Chiron, software engineer Kenneth Hess, retired CPA Carol Schaller, and pilot Gopi Thotakura.

In recent years, space tourism, largely spearheaded by billionaires including Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, has rapidly expanded.

Last August, spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, which is founded by Branson, successfully flew six tourists including the first mother-daughter duo in a suborbital flight that allowed passengers to see the Earth’s curvature.

Meanwhile, in 2021, Musk’s SpaceX launched the world’s first “amateur astronaut” crew on a private flight to orbit Earth for three days, a trip that mission commander Jared Isaacman described as a “heck of a ride” following touchdown.

OTHER NEWS

19 minutes ago

New trade proposal sends Columbus Blue Jackets Patrik Laine to Montréal

19 minutes ago

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley formally bids goodbye to party members

19 minutes ago

Car, Truck Dealers Assess Fallout From CDK Cyberattack

20 minutes ago

Lakers News: All-Pac 12 Forward Grabs LA's Attention Pre-NBA Draft

20 minutes ago

Living in the 'first car-free neighborhood in the U.S.' for $1,472 a month

20 minutes ago

Roller coaster strikes, critically injures man in restricted area of Ohio theme park

20 minutes ago

Heat wave continues in the East and Midwest, expands to the West

20 minutes ago

Four fans get on field for selfies with Cristiano Ronaldo during chaotic scenes at Euro 2024 match

20 minutes ago

The Cristiano Ronaldo circus provokes a serious question over Portugal’s Euro 2024 hopes

20 minutes ago

567,000 chargers sold at Costco recalled for fire risk

23 minutes ago

Adams, Hollins lead B.C. Lions to 26-24 win as Blue Bombers remain winless

23 minutes ago

Ontario woman found dead alongside family remembered as selfless, caring mother

25 minutes ago

Video: Donald Trumps sends brutal message to Joe Biden as he flies into DC to speak to Christian voters before MAGA rally in Philadelphia tonight

25 minutes ago

Video: JK Rowling accuses Sir Keir Starmer of 'abandoning' women after Labour leader changes views on gender

25 minutes ago

USWNT legend hints at stunning return to the team after TWO YEARS away

25 minutes ago

Influencer who was skyrocketed into social media fame by documenting her solo travels breaks down in tears as she reveals her nomadic lifestyle has left her feeling 'isolated and lonely': 'I need help'

25 minutes ago

Ex-NFL player Darren Lewis dead at 55: Former Texas A&M star dies from cancer amid troubled past

25 minutes ago

Tories fall to new low in latest poll as Reform closes gap to three points

26 minutes ago

Thousands of Taylor Swift fans risk missing Dublin gigs due to Aer Lingus strike

26 minutes ago

Aer Lingus to cancel 120 flights due to pilots’ eight-hour strike next weekend

26 minutes ago

Cronenworth homers and has a career-high 5 hits as the Padres beat the Brewers 9-5, lose Tatis

26 minutes ago

Setbacks be damned: Aussie Ajla into grasscourt final but Thompson loses

26 minutes ago

Can Clayton Oliver be great again in 2024?

26 minutes ago

Brandon Smith 'outstanding' on return to NRL: coach

26 minutes ago

Drama Drain: Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott Tiresome Storyline?

26 minutes ago

The art of inspiration: Why Dylan Pietsch hopes to spark a new generation of Indigenous Wallabies

26 minutes ago

Jane Fonda pays tribute to late costar and love Donald Sutherland, 'a brilliant actor and a complex man'

26 minutes ago

Canadian rugby 7s men advance in last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament in Monaco

26 minutes ago

'The Wives': Everything We Know About the Jennifer Lawrence A24 Movie

26 minutes ago

Now healthy, 49ers QB Brock Purdy looks to elevate his game

28 minutes ago

Young fan invades pitch, gets selfie with Ronaldo at Portugal Euro 2024 game

31 minutes ago

Lando Norris delivers best lap 'ever' after McLaren fire at Spanish GP

31 minutes ago

Florida State gets Brady Smigiel, No. 6 pocket passer in '26

31 minutes ago

Warren Gatland hails ‘exceptional’ performance by Wales captain Dewi Lake

31 minutes ago

Golden Bachelorette Joan Vassos reveals sweet advice she got from Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner

31 minutes ago

Will ‘sigh of relief’ after US supreme court gun ruling be short-lived?

31 minutes ago

This Is On Them: Passenger Slams American Airlines After Finding Checked Bag In Homeless Encampment

31 minutes ago

Lorenzo Musetti: As Italian tennis players, we are living a dream

31 minutes ago

Red Bull advantage ‘completely gone’ in Max Verstappen’s ‘not good enough’ verdict

31 minutes ago

3 Luxury Car Brands That Are Worth the Money