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Guy Bluford Changed the Course of Space History

Guy Bluford Changed the Course of Space History

Guy Bluford, an African American man, floats near storage inside the Challenger spacecraft. He has one hand on a shiny gray bag with markings on it, and the other is nearly off-screen on the right. He wears a powder blue jumpsuit that has various zippers on it, as well as NASA, mission, and flag patches. He is looking directly at the camera while smiling. Credit: NASAALT

Guy Bluford Changed the Course of Space History

On Aug. 30, 1983, Guion Bluford, better known as Guy, became the first African American to fly to space. An accomplished jet pilot and aerospace engineer, Bluford became part of NASA’s 1978 astronaut class that included the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first women astronauts.

He and the other crew members of mission STS-8 were aboard the orbiter Challenger as it lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida; it was the first nighttime launch and landing of the Space Shuttle program. While aboard, he and the other crew members deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1B), operated a Canadian-built robot arm, conducted experiments with live cell samples, and participated in studies measuring the effects of spaceflight on humans.

Guy Bluford chased his childhood dream of becoming an aerospace engineer, and in doing so, changed history and encouraged other Black astronauts to follow in his footsteps.

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