The story of Ed Dwight: the man who nearly became the first African-American to reach space – The Next Web

Posted: June 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1933, Dwights father, Ed Dwight, Sr, played second base for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. His mother, Georgia Baker Dwight, encouraged the boy from a young age, and Ed Jr. became an avid reader, able to work well with his hands including creating art, a passion to which he would later return.

Dwight dreamed of flying jet aircraft, joining the U.S. Air Force beginning in 1953. Eight years later, he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Arizona State University.

Following his completion of the experimental test pilot course, Dwight aerospace research pilot training, while he completed training to become anastronaut.

In 1961, President Kennedy selected Dwight to enter training as an experimental test pilot, in preparation for a flight to space as Americas first African-Americanastronaut. The pilot suddenly found himself catapulted onto the covers of magazines and on the front pages of newspapers around the world. At a time when the Soviet Union was beating the United States in the space race, the young jet pilot represented a chance for the United Sates to win a much-needed ground-breaking flight.

To see an Ed Dwight walking across the platform getting into an Apollo capsule would have been mind-boggling in those days. It wouldve had an incredible impact, statedCharles Bolden, the first African-American to head NASA.

The following year, Dwight piloted his F-104 Starfighter jet to an altitude of 80,000 feet before cutting his engines, staring at the curvature of the Earth below his craft. It was the closest he would ever come toreaching space.

Facing severe discrimination from other astronauts, Dwight persevered until President Kennedys death, when government officials created a threatening atmosphere. He resigned in 1966, never having gone into space,The History Makersreports.

Space travel benefits us here on Earth. And we aint stopped yet. Theres more exploration to come. Nichelle Nichols, Nyota Uhura, Star Trek

Much likeJerri Cobband the women of Mercury 13, the political will to see an African-American in space was pushed to the back burner with the drive to land on the Moon and the budget cutbacks that followed that success.

On August 30, 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African-American to reach space, flying aboard thespace shuttleChallenger. Bluford would go on to log 688 hours in space aboard four shuttle missions.

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The story of Ed Dwight: the man who nearly became the first African-American to reach space - The Next Web

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