Ed Dwight, America’s First Black Astronaut Candidate, Makes History by Finally Reaching Space at 90

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Dwight was on Blue Origin’s latest crewed space flight on May 19, decades after he was selected as the nation's first Black astronaut candidate

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Ed Dwight, America's first Black astronaut candidate, in space on Sunday

Ed Dwight, the United States’ first-ever Black astronaut candidate, has finally traveled to space — and is now the oldest man to do so.

Dwight was one of six individuals aboard Blue Origin’s seventh human space flight on Sunday, May 19, according to a news release from Jeff Bezos' aerospace company.

The 90-year-old was a member of the 1963 class of astronauts, which also included Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, per the Associated Press.

But despite being selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the nation’s first Black astronaut candidate, Blue Origin said Dwight “never had the opportunity” to venture into space until now.

Related: Lauren Sánchez Says Her All-Female Space Crew Will Be Announced Soon: 'My Fellow Astronauts' (Exclusive)

Sunday’s flight to space took off for its first flight in two years around 10:37 a.m. local time from west Texas, according to The Guardian.

<p> Facebook</p> Ed Dwight, America's first Black astronaut candidate, in space on Sunday

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Ed Dwight, America's first Black astronaut candidate, in space on Sunday

Footage from the flight, shared by Blue Origin, showed the seven-person crew in awe as they cruised around the Earth in their spacecraft. Dwight could be seen giggling with glee as he took in the sights around him.

After landing, Dwight called the nearly 10-minute flight a “life-changing experience,” according to the AP.

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“I thought I really didn’t need this in my life,” he explained. ”But, now, I need it in my life .... I am ecstatic.”

Related: Blue Origin Is Replacing Pete Davidson with Company's Rocket Architect on Next Space Flight

Dwight now holds the world record for oldest individual to travel to space, topping Star Trek actor William Shatner by only a few months, per the AP and NPR.

According to the AP, Guion Bluford became the first African American to visit space in 1983 — about five years after NASA began selecting Black astronauts in 1978.

This was Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to space since 2022, when the New Shepard rocket was grounded following an in-flight failure, according to the AP and The Guardian.

Related: All About Jeff Bezos' Space-Themed Bar at His West Texas Ranch

Also aboard Sunday’s flight were venture capitalist Mason Angel, entrepreneur Kenneth Hess, aviator Gopi Thotakura, retired accountant Carol Schaller and Sylvain Chiron, the founder of a French craft brewery, Blue Origin and NPR reported.

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New Shepard has now flown 37 people into space, according to Blue Origin.

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