Ed Dwight, First Black Astronaut

Ed Dwight, First Black Astronaut, Set To Soar Anew With Blue Origin’s New Shepard-25 Mission

Blue Origin's upcoming New Shepard-25 mission is poised to mark an occasion with Ed Dwight, the first Black astronaut candidate in the U.S.

Blue Origin’s upcoming New Shepard-25 mission is poised to mark a monumental occasion as former Air Force Captain and Kansas City native Ed Dwight, the first Black astronaut candidate in the U.S., is set to embark on this historic journey, according to AfroTech. Decades after being denied the opportunity to fly to space, Dwight’s inclusion in the crew for this mission symbolizes a remarkable full-circle moment in his storied career.

Dwight’s seat aboard New Shepard-25 is sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation. His illustrious career has seen him transition from entrepreneurship to sculpting monuments honoring Black historical figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, with over 130 of his works showcased in museums across the U.S. and Canada.

Selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the inaugural Black astronaut candidate, Dwight’s journey to space was thwarted despite completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and earning a recommendation from the U.S. Air Force. Now, with Blue Origin’s invitation, Dwight is poised to realize his long-awaited dream of space travel.

Joining Dwight on this momentous journey are Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, and Gopi Thotakura, forming a diverse crew united in their shared quest for space exploration. Each member will carry a postcard created by students as part of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s initiative aimed at inspiring the next generation of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) leaders.

“Club for the Future is proud to make space accessible to all humans through the Postcards to Space program,” the initiative’s website states. “Anyone can draw or write their vision of the future on a postcard, and Blue Origin will fly it to space and back on a future New Shepard mission.”