First Black American Astronaut To Go Out Into Space
Aug. 30, 1983: Astronauts Richard H. Truly and Daniel C. Brandenstein piloted Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-8) on another historic mission, carrying the first black American astronaut, Guion S. Bluford, into space as a mission specialist. The astronauts launched communications satellite Insat 1B into orbit.
Bluford Graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1960; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1964; a master of science degree with distinction in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974; a doctor of philosophy in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978, and a master in business administration from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, in 1987.
In August 1972, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology residency school at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Upon graduating in 1974, he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a staff development engineer. He served as deputy for advanced concepts for the Aeromechanics Division and as branch chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch in the Laboratory. Bluford has written and presented several scientific papers in the area of computational fluid dynamics. He has logged over 5,100 hours jet flight time in the T-33, T-37, T-38, F-4C, F-15, U-2/TR-1, and F-5A/B, including 1,300 hours as a T-38 instructor pilot. He also has an FAA commercial pilot license.
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