Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Celebrating Black History Month: NASA astronauts- Guy Bluford, Ronald McNair, Charles Bolden, Mae Jemison

Charles Bolden was appointed by President Barack Obama to become the first African-American Administrator of NASA.  He retired last month.  He became an astronaut in August 1981 and logged 680 hours in space on four flights: STS-61-C (Columbia); STS-31 (Discovery); STS-45 (Atlantis) on which he served as commander, and; STS-60 (Discovery) where he also served as commander.

Guion (Guy) Bluford, Jr., the first African-American in space, joined NASA as an astronaut in August 1979.  He has logged over 688 hours in space on four flights as mission specialist: STS-8 (Challenger); STS-61-A (Challenger); STS-39 (Discovery), and; STS-53 (Discovery).

Ronald McNair became an astronaut in 1978 and flew on mission STS-41-B aboard Challenger in 1984, the second African-American in space.  His second mission was STS-51-L also on the Challenger which exploded just 73 seconds after lift-off.  He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004 along with the crews of the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

Mae Jemison, the first African-American female in space, flew one mission on STS-47 (Endeavor) as mission specialist in 1992.  She left NASA the following year and is a Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

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