Crew for Blue Origin’s 7th human spaceflight includes US’ 1st black astronaut candidate | Space

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We now know who will be on board for Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight since August 2022.

Today (April 4), Jeff Bezos‘ company announced the six crewmembers for the NS-25 space tourism mission, which will lift off from Blue Origin‘s West Texas site in the relatively near future. (The target date has not yet been revealed.)

Among the six are former U.S. Air Force Capt. Ed Dwight, who was selected as the nation’s first Black astronaut candidate back in 1961, according to Blue Origin.

Related: Facts about New Shepard, Blue Origin’s rocket for space tourism

The crew of Blue Origin’s upcoming NS-25 suborbital mission. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

“In 1961, Ed was chosen by President John F. Kennedy to enter training at the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), an elite U.S. Air Force flight training program known as a pathway for entering the NASA Astronaut Corps,” Blue Origin wrote in an update today. “In 1963, after successfully completing the ARPS program, Ed was recommended by the U.S. Air Force for the NASA Astronaut Corps but ultimately was not among those selected.”

Robert Lawrence was the first Black astronaut selected for a space program — the U.S. Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory, or MOL, a planned spy outpost in Earth orbit that was never built. Lawrence was picked in June 1967, but he died six months later in a supersonic jet crash. The first Black American astronaut to reach space was Guion Bluford, who flew on the STS-8 mission of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983.

Dwight, who was born in 1933, became an entrepreneur and then a sculptor focusing on iconic figures in Black history. Over the past five decades, he has created more than 130 public works, which are featured in museums and other spaces across the U.S. and Canada, according to Blue Origin. His seat on the mission is sponsored by the nonprofit Space For Humanity.

The other five NS-25 crewmembers…

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