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On November 22nd, 1942 a man by the name of Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. was born. Little did anyone know that he was going to eventually make an impact on not only African American history, but the world. Bluford was born in Philadelphia with his two brothers Kenneth & Eugene. Guion was the son of a mechanical engineer and his mother was a special education teacher. Following in his parent’s steps he attended Pennsylvania State University as a member of the U.S. Air Force ROTC program graduating in the year 1964. Bluford majored in aerospace engineering. Following his time spent being a pilot at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona, Bluford decided to take an unheard-of step.

Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. In Space

In the year 1978, Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. applied to the NASA program. Alongside 10,000 other applicants, Bluford was one of only 35 people that join the new space shuttle team. After a year of training Guion officially became a NASA astronaut in 1979.

August 30, 1983, is when Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. made history being the first African American in space. The mission started off at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Bluford alongside his crew took to space on the STS-8 space shuttle. History was made by this courageous man and Bluford recalls his impact on the space program as an African American, “I felt an awesome responsibility, and I took the responsibility very seriously, of being a role model and opening another door to black Americans, but the important thing is not that I am black, but that I did a good job as a scientist and an astronaut. There will be black astronauts flying in later missions … and they, too, will be people who excel, not simply who are black . . . who can ably represent their people, their communities, their country.” During his time in space, Bluford and the rest of his crew created a robot arm and used it for many physiological experiments.

Life After Space

Guion Stewart Bluford was making history during the day and a husband by night being married to his wife Linda since 1964. They had two children together, Guion III and James. After compiling 688 total hours in space Bluford announced his retirement in 1993. The once engineer knew it was time for a new start.

Guion S. Bluford became Vice President of NYMA Inc. (engineering and information technology services) of their engineering division in 1993. Bluford has also been apart of companies such as Federal Data Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Aerospace Technologies Group. After a historical career for NASA Bluford was honored by being inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997. Following that, in the year 2010 was Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame 2010. Bluford has reflected on his time in space that made him appreciate planet Earth even more, “I’ve come to appreciate the planet we live on. It’s a small ball in a large universe. It’s a very fragile

ball but also very beautiful. You don’t recognize that until you see it from a little farther off.”

How Did African American’s Impact The Space Program?  was originally published on