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Ed Dwight, First Black US Astronaut Candidate, Joins Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 Crew

Ed Dwight, First Black US Astronaut Candidate, Joins Blue Origin's New Shepard-25 Crew

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

Back in 1961, Ed Dwight etched his name in the annals of history when President John F. Kennedy handpicked him as the inaugural Black astronaut candidate in the United States, as per a recent news release.

However, despite completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and earning a glowing recommendation from the U.S. Air Force to proceed, Dwight faced disappointment as he was not chosen for the coveted NASA Astronaut Corps, missing out on the opportunity to journey into space.

Fast forward six decades, and Ed Dwight is now poised to embark on Blue Origin’s upcoming New Shepard mission to space, heralding the seventh human flight and the 25th program in the company’s illustrious repertoire, as outlined in the press release.

What makes this voyage even more poignant is that Dwight’s seat has been sponsored by the nonprofit organization Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation.

Ed Dwight Career Shift from Sculptor to Astronaut

Before being tapped for Blue Origin’s groundbreaking space expedition, Ed Dwight traversed a diverse career path, transitioning from an early stint as an entrepreneur to crafting monumental sculptures honoring prominent black historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, as detailed in the release.

His prolific body of work, comprising over 130 pieces, graces museums across the United States and Canada.

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

As they journey into the cosmos, each member of the six-astronaut crew will carry a postcard crafted by students as part of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s educational foundation.

The Club for the Future initiative aims to inspire the next generation to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) for the betterment of humanity, according to its website.

“Club for the Future is dedicated to democratizing access to space through the Postcards to Space program,” the website articulates. “Anyone can illustrate or pen their vision of the future on a postcard, and Blue Origin will transport it to space and back on a future New Shepard mission.

Club for the Future will then mark them ‘flown to space’ and return them to the creators.”

At the time of this report, the date for the New Shepard-25 mission remains undisclosed, adding to the anticipation surrounding this historic endeavor.



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