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91-Year-Old Dwight Fulfills Astronaut Dream, Becomes Oldest Space Traveler

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Quick Smiles:

  • Edward Dwight, 60 years after being a candidate to become the first African-American astronaut, has embarked on a space journey with Blue Origin.
  • At 91 years old, Dwight makes history as the oldest person ever to enter space, surpassing actor William Shatner.
  • Dwight’s space dream was fulfilled thanks to sponsorship from a group acknowledging his service and inspiration to the country.

Edward Dwight, who was once a candidate to be the first African-American astronaut, has finally realized his dream of journeying into space. Almost six decades after his original selection as a potential astronaut, Dwight has experienced the cosmos aboard Blue Origin, the private space company owned by former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The New Shepherd rocket took Dwight beyond the Kármán Line, the boundary separating Earth’s atmosphere from outer space, for an awe-inspiring 10-minute excursion.

“Fantastic! A life-changing experience. Everyone needs to do this!” Dwight expressed his excitement after the journey. “I didn’t know I needed this in my life, but now I need it in my life.”

At the age of 91, Dwight becomes the oldest individual to enter space, surpassing Star Trek actor William Shatner. This notable accomplishment serves as an inspiration to many, particularly black Americans who aspired to travel to space during the era Dwight was first selected.

In his early days, Dwight was a prominent candidate, trained and ready to fulfill the vision of sending a black man into space. He recalled receiving up to 1,500 letters a week, addressed ‘Astronaut Dwight, Kansas City.’

Dwight of Kansas City, rapidly ascended to the rank of captain in the Air Force, accumulating a total of 9,000 flight hours, 2,000 of which were in high-performance jets, all within 6 years. He boasted an impressive resume, with an aeronautics degree from Arizona State University and ample flight hours that secured him a spot at the Edwards Air Force Base’s flight test school in the Mojave Desert.

Dwight was one of 26 individuals selected out of 136 applicants for Group 3 Astronaut candidacy by the Air Force. The idea was to send a black astronaut to space, symbolizing a progressive nation, countering the fact that the USA had lost to the Soviets in the race to send the first man into space.

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Edward R. Murrow, then director of the United States Information Agency, supported this vision. He suggested America should put the first non-white man into space to change the narrative of the country’s space exploration internationally.

Even though Dwight’s selection didn’t pull through, he didn’t let the setback hold him back. He went on to have a successful career as an artist and sculptor. Years later, a group of sponsors acknowledged his remarkable contributions to the country and secured his seat on the New Shepherd launch.

Now having seen the stars close up, Dwight considers it a cause for “bragging rights.” Despite his age, he remains keen on continuing his space adventures. He found the separation of the capsule from the rocket “more dynamic” than he had anticipated during training.

“I want to go into orbit. I want to go around the Earth and see the whole Earth. That’s what I want to do now,” said Dwight, the fulfillment of his dream partly made possible by several contributors who funded his ticket.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. KlS

    June 4, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    Good for him! But, I can think of a whole lot of things I’d rather do than go to space!

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